Fourteen women and children died Thursday when a bomb exploded in a cemetery in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, a male relative of the victims told Afghan news agency AIP.

The blast in the Ghanikhil district coincided with the beginning of the Muslim Eid al-Fitur festival - which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan - and wounded three women and a child, the relative, identified as Ghalib, said.

"My sisters and other relatives who had come to my house from Kabul to celebrate Eid al-Fitur were among the dead and wounded," said Ghalib, adding that the victims were in the cemetery to place flowers at the tomb of his wife.

The civilian death toll from the war in Afghanistan during the first half of this year was 1,319, 14 percent more than during the same period in 2012, and 2,533 people were wounded, an increase of 28 percent, according to a recent U.N. report.

U.N. officials attribute 74 percent of the civilian fatalities to actions by the Taliban insurgency and other opposition groups, who are fighting in Afghanistan to expel the NATO troops from the country and topple the current government of Hamid Karzai.

The international forces are scheduled to conclude their gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan next year, coinciding with elections that will determine Karzai's successor as president.

The Afghan conflict is currently experiencing one of its bloodiest periods since the U.S. invasion in 2001 that led to the fall of the Taliban regime. EFE