SHARON OTTERMAN
The New York Times
July 31, 2009

[efoods]The widening war in Afghanistan between Taliban militants and American-allied Afghan forces is taking an increasingly heavy toll on civilians, with 1,013 killed in the first six months of 2009, up from 818 during the same period in 2008, according to a United Nations report released Friday.

Explosions and suicide attacks carried out by anti-government forces, including the Taliban, caused a majority of the civilian deaths, killing 595 during the period, the report said. Of the 310 deaths attributed to pro-government forces, about two-thirds were caused by American airstrikes. The remaining deaths could not be attributed to any of the parties in the conflict, according to the report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

As the civilian toll climbs, the death rate for American soldiers also reached a new high. Forty-two Americans died in July, the deadliest month for American service members in the country since the 2001 invasion, according to the Defense Department and the Web site icasualties.org. Twenty-two British soldiers also died in July.

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