The Latest: UN says record number of Afghan civilians killed

The Latest on the war in Afghanistan (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

The U.N. says Afghanistan's protracted war killed a record number of civilians in the first six months of this year, blaming Taliban insurgents for most of the deaths.

In a report released Monday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called the numbers "horrifying," adding that they "can never fully convey the sheer human suffering of the people of Afghanistan."

Of the 1,662 civilians killed in the first six months of this year, the report said 40 percent died as a result of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devises and pressure-plate devises. More women and children were also among the dead this year.

The U.N. says that represents a 2 percent rise from the same period the previous year.


1 p.m.

An Afghan official says the country's security forces have driven the Taliban out of a key district in southern Helmand province from where they had been threatening the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

Defense Ministry's spokesman, Daulat Waziri, said on Monday that the battle to recapture the district of Naway had been fierce. He says more than 50 Taliban fighters were killed and five security forces were wounded.

Naway is located just 16 kilometers, or 10 miles, from Lashkar Gah, and had been a staging arena for militant attacks on the city.

Government troops also captured a large cache of ammunitions and guns. The Taliban did not immediately comment on reports of the district's fall.

U.S. and NATO troops are in Helmand to assist Afghan security forces when needed.