The Taliban decried as "false" a U.N. report that the insurgent movement has suffered 12,000 casualties so far this year among the slain, wounded or captured by the NATO-led international force in Afghanistan.

"That report is totally unfounded. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban name for the country) condemns in the most energetic terms this false report," the insurgent movement said in a communique sent to Efe.

"The only reason for the numbers in the report is to raise the morale of the defeated aggressors and give the false impression that the Taliban have suffered many casualties," the communique said, and went on to recall that "martyrdom is an honor."

U.N. sources told Efe that the report mentioned by the Taliban will soon be presented in Kabul, though its content has been leaked to certain media in neighboring Pakistan and was picked up by the English-language press.

The circulating of the report and the Taliban's reaction to it are elements of an image battle being waged by both sides as international troops prepare to withdraw from the country in 2014, after being deployed there for more than 12 years. EFE