The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in the report that "Conflict-related violence exacted a heavy toll on Afghanistan in 2016, with an overall deterioration in civilian protection and the highest-total civilian casualties recorded since 2009, when UNAMA began systematic documentation of civilian casualties".

UNAMA documented 899 civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured) in comparison to 82 civilian casualties (39 deaths and 43 injured) in 2015.

Children represented 84% of civilian casualties a year ago from "explosive remnants of war", the report said.

In order to prevent the exacerbation of an already dire humanitarian crisis, the UNAMA has called upon all parties in the conflict to note the consequences of their violent actions.

With insecurity spiralling as fighting spreads to all 34 provinces, "UNAMA documented record numbers of civilian casualties from ground engagements, suicide and complex attacks and explosive remnants of war", said the mission's human rights director Danielle Bell.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, said: "The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable".

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Violent clashes between Afghan security forces and militants, particularly in populated areas, resulted in a record number of civilian casualties previous year.

The vast majority (61 percent) of the casualties were attributed to "anti-government elements", mainly the Taliban, but also to the Islamic State group, while 24 percent were attributed to pro-government forces.

As the Afghan air force got more attack aircraft and the United States ramped up its air campaign against both Islamic State and the Taliban, casualties caused by air strikes increased 99 percent compared with 2015, hitting levels not seen since 2009.

"We are very sensitive and careful about civilian casualties, this report is incomplete and we reject it", he said.

According to The Associated Press, U.S. officials have only acknowledged possible civilian casualties in one incident in Kunduz province in November, when the United Nations said as many as 32 noncombatants were killed in a joint U.S.