20 Jun 2010

Afghan violence rising - UN

7:33 am on 20 June 2010

A United Nations report says there has been a dramatic increase in violence in Afghanistan in the first four months of this year.

The quarterly report to the UN Security Council says roadside bombings have risen 94% compared with the same period last year.

Assassinations have risen by 45% and suicide bombings have doubled to roughly two per month.

On average, the report said, there were three suicide bombings a week - half of them in the south of the country - which it attributed "to an increase in military operations in the southern region during the first quarter of 2010".

NATO launched Operation Moshtarak in Helmand province in February - the biggest military offensive since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

The report also said Afghanistan's overall security situation "has not improved" since the last report in March.