Kabul, Afghanistan (BBN) – Civilian casualties recorded a significant rise in the first six months of this year indicating conflict continues in Afghanistan, the United Nations said on Friday.

The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) recoded over 1,000 deaths in the first six months of 2009, which was 24 percent higher than during the same period of the previous year.

“Both anti-government elements (AGEs) and pro-government forces (PGFs) are responsible for the increase in civilian casualties,” the UNAMA said in its Mid-Year Bulletin on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan.

The UNAMA recorded 1,013 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year. Of these, 59 percent (595 deaths) were due to AGEs and 30.5 percent (310 deaths) to PGFs, according to the report.

Of the 595 civilian deaths attributed to AGEs activities, 400 were the result of indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices (IED) and suicide attacks, which is responsible for 67 percent of all deaths caused by the armed opposition, the UNAMA said in its 18-page report.

The report, prepared by UNAMA’s Human Rights Unit, focused on IED and suicide attacks carried out by AGEs, and airstrikes conducted by PGF, the two tactics which the mission says continue to claim the largest number of civilian lives in the ongoing armed conflict.

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay warned that civilian casualties were likely to continue rising unless more effective preventive measures were taken.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-01August09-1:02 am (BST)