The war in Afghanistan intensified for civilians in 2013, killing 2,959 and wounding 5,656, an increase over the previous year of 7 percent and 17 percent, respectively, a United Nations report said Saturday.

The total number of civilian dead and wounded in the armed conflict, 8,615, was a 14 percent increase over 2012, when there were less casualties than the previous year, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA.

"Armed conflict took an unrelenting toll on Afghan civilians in 2013," said the U.N. representative in Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Jan Kubis.

According to the UNAMA report, 2013 was the worst year for women and children casualties since 2009.

The U.N. related 74 percent of civilian victims to insurgency attacks, 8 percent to the Afghan military, 3 percent to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, and 10 percent to battles between the Taliban and pro-government forces.

The remaining 5 percent were not attributed to any organization and were principally due to abandoned explosives.

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, planted by insurgents took the biggest toll among civilians - 962 dead and 1,926 wounded - 14 percent more than in 2012.

"It is the awful reality that most women and children were killed and injured in their daily lives - at home, on their way to school, working in the fields or traveling to a social event," UNAMA Human Rights Director Georgette Gagnon said.

According to UNAMA, clashes between government forces and the rebels take more lives every day, so that it seems to be a new trend.

Air strikes by NATO forces are particularly controversial and the Afghan government now prohibits their use near inhabited areas. EFE