UN figures for first half of 2019 blame 717 deaths on pro-Kabul forces and 531 on militants
Afghan forces and their international allies killed more civilians in the first half of 2019 than the Taliban and other militant groups, UN figures show, extending a trend that began in the first quarter of the year.
This year is the first time since civilian casualty records started over a decade ago that pro-government forces have caused more deaths than insurgents, raising serious questions about the western mission there.
For years, despite civilian deaths and injuries caused by both sides, the government in Kabul and its allies had been able to point to UN statistics showing that insurgents were the biggest killer of Afghan civilians.
That is no longer the case. Overall the report found 403 civilians were killed by Afghan troops and 314 by their international allies in the first six months of 2019, a total of 717. The Taliban, Islamic State and other militant groups killed 531 civilians.
Afghanistan is facing a critical few weeks, as peace talks with the Taliban enter what many hope will be their final stages, ahead of a presidential election set for the end of September. There have been concerns that both sides have ramped up violence as the peace process got under way, to strengthen their position at the negotiating table.