The latest quarterly report out of the UN shows 521 civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2015, including 136 deaths. This is an 8% increase over the same period in 2014, which was itself the deadliest since the UN began keeping track.
UN officials warn that as the spring thaw begins the tolls are likely to start soaring again, setting the stage for another terrible year for civilians trapped 14 years deep into a NATO occupation.
UN Special Representative Nicholas Haysom admonished the various combatant factions to “refrain from using mortars and rockets in any areas populated by civilians.”
That’s been an increasing problem, as a change in the nature of the war has meant a shift from the Taliban’s roadside bomb tactics, once the overwhelming cause of civilian casualties, to direct clashes with Afghan troops.