BBC News 
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
There has been a sharp increase in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan this year, according to new figures released by the United Nations.
They show that August had the highest number of deaths since the overthrow of the Taleban almost seven years ago.
The UN says that from January to August 1,445 civilians were killed – a rise of 39% on the same period last year.
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Meanwhile, members of parliament are holding a one-day walk-out in protest the increase in civilian casualties.
A senior member of the senate, Abdul Khaliq Hosseini Pashaei, said the senators would hold further protests if measures were not taken by the Afghan government and foreign forces to reduce the number of civilian deaths.
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva – where the UN report was released – says that the issue of civilian casualties at the hands of foreign forces has caused widespread anger across the country.