KABUL -- More than 100,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or injured over the past decade, the United Nations (UN) said Thursday (December 26), as it renewed calls to end the bloody 18-year conflict.
The announcement comes as the Taliban and the United States continue to hold talks after Washington called off the negotiations in September because of insurgent attacks.
However, fighting continues to rage across the country, with ordinary Afghans frequently bearing the brunt of the violence.
"The war in Afghanistan continues to take an appalling toll on civilians," Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN special representative in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
"I recognise with extreme sadness that civilian casualties recently surpassed 100,000 in the past 10 years alone, from the time the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) began systematic documentation of civilian casualties," he said.
"The United Nations urges those participating in all peace efforts to consider the millions of ordinary Afghans, especially the victims of the conflict, who want a chance to live in peace so they can rebuild their lives," he added.
"The hopes and aspirations of millions of ordinary Afghans -- young and old, women and men, girls and boys -- rest on the shoulders of those who are striving to bring the war to an end with a lasting political settlement," Yamamoto said.
Grim statistics all year
The grim milestone comes days after officials announced preliminary results in Afghanistan's latest presidential elections that put President Ashraf Ghani on track to secure a second term.
Earlier this year, the UN reported that an "unprecedented" number of civilians had been killed or wounded in Afghanistan from July 1 to September 30, citing 1,174 deaths and 3,139 injuries in that period.
Last year was the deadliest on record, with at least 3,804 civilians -- including 927 children -- killed in the war, a UN tally found.