Civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose by 19 percent in the first 11 months of 2014 compared to a year earlier, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). More than 3,180 civilians were killed and nearly 6,430 injured by the end of November. The number of casualties involving children increased by 33 percent. Projections indicate that the civilian casualty count will pass 10,000 for the first time in a single year, the highest number since the organization began systematically documenting civilian casualties in 2009.

Many analysts view the latest figures as a worrying sign that the conflict is spreading to more densely populated areas of the South Asian nation.

The UN data comes at a critical time for Afghanistan as NATO recently marked the official end of the military alliance’s ISAF mission in the country after almost 13 years of fighting an insurgency. The ISAF combat mission will now transition to a “training and support” mission – numbering some 13,500 soldiers – under NATO leadership starting on

In a DW interview, Georgette Gagnon, the director of UNAMA’s human rights unit, talks about what triggered the high number of casualties, who they are attributed to, and what the parties involved in the fighting should do to avoid killing or injuring more civilians.

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