MOSCOW/KABUL - Nearly 2,800 civilians were killed and over 5,200 sustained injuries in military action in Afghanistan in the period from January to September, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a press release on Wednesday.

"Covering the period 1 January to 30 September 2018, the new UN report documents 8,050 civilian casualties (2,798 dead and 5,252 injured), reflecting the same extreme levels of harm to civilians in comparison to the same period in 2017," the press release said.

According to the UNAMA, despite the fact the the number of civilians wounded in hostilities in the country fell 3 percent in the corresponding period, the number of those killed rose by 5 percent. The report mentions blasts caused by improvised explosive devices, ground engagements and deliberate killings as three most frequent causes of civilian deaths, which claimed 1,050, 605 and 439 lives, respectively.

"Of grave concern, the report notes that anti-government elements increasingly directed attacks specifically against the civilian population, including ethnic and religious minorities," the press release added.

The United Nations once again reiterated in its report the call on the anti-government elements to stop immediately the deliberate targeting of civilians.

"As there can be no military solution to the fighting in Afghanistan, the United Nations renews its call for an immediate and peaceful settlement to the conflict to end the suffering of the Afghan people ... All parties can and should do their utmost to protect civilians from harm, including by making concrete progress toward peace," Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, was quoted as saying in the press release. Afghanistan has been struggling to achieve stability for years as central authorities have been fighting Taliban radical movement and a number of terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia) that are attempting to gain a foothold in the country.

Airstrikes kill 27 Taliban

in southern Helmand

Afghan forces carried out two airstrikes killing 27 militants from the Taliban movement in the country's southern Helmand province, local media reported on Wednesday citing local officials.

The airstrikes also left 13 Taliban militants injured, according to the Tolo News broadcaster.

The operation took place in Helmand's Nad Ali area following the Taliban's attempt to attack Afghan security forces, the broadcaster reported.

Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to simmering Taliban insurgency. The violence is exacerbated by the activities of various terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (IS, banned in Russia).

Landmine blast kills 2 children

Two Afghan children were killed and two others sustained injuries following a landmine blast in Afghanistan's northern province of Faryab, Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs said Wednesday.

"The incident happened late on Tuesday, in Chaghatak area of Almar district, where a landmine, placed by terrorists, went off, leaving two children who were grazing their flocks dead and two others wounded," the ministry said in a statement.

Taliban militants and Islamic State fighters have been using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to make roadside bombs and landmines to target security forces, but the lethal home-made weapons also inflict casualties on civilians. Elsewhere, in eastern Paktia province, two militants were killed when an IED they were planting along a road detonated accidently, according to the statement.