• UN Afghan envoy warns of "troubling" rise in violence

UN Afghan envoy warns of "troubling" rise in violence

25 April 2013

The UN envoy to Afghanistan, Jan Kubis says civilian casualties rose almost 30 per cent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Speaking to NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Mr Kubis said that 475 civilians had been killed and 872 injured, describing it as  “a troubling rise”.

The new figures came only months after the UN announced that civilian casualties had decreased by 12 per cent in 2012 - the first drop in five years.

Mr Kubis called on anti-government groups to stop targeting civilians, using children in suicide operations and attacking public places.

He expressed particular concern about a Taliban statement suggesting that courthouses and judicial staff were regarded as targets. 

And he described this month’s  attack on a court complex in Farah province, which left more than 40 dead and almost 100 injured, as “nothing less than a war crime”.