The insurgency in Afghanistan has spread beyond Taliban strongholds in the south and east while the number of attacks in the country has reached a six-year high, a top U.N. envoy said. Violence in Afghanistan this year is worse than at any time since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the militant Islamist Taliban in 2001 and fears are growing among NATO members that they are losing both the military campaign and the support of ordinary Afghans. "In July and August we witnessed the highest number of security incidents since 2002," U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide told the U.N. Security Council. The rise over the same period in 2007 was nearly 40 percent, he said. Eide said the insurgency has spread beyond the south and east and extended to provinces around Kabul. There has also been an increase in attacks on civilians, including aid-related and humanitarian personnel, he added. However, Eide sharply criticized what he said were overly pessimistic assessments of the situation. "I would really caution against the gloom and doom statements that we've seen recently," he said. On the positive side, Eide said, relations between Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan have improved. Afghan, US, NATO and UN officials say that Taliban and al Qaeda militants move across Afghanistan's long and porous border with Pakistan. This makes Islamabad a key partner if the war against the Afghan insurgency is to be won, they say. US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad said Washington deeply regretted the loss of civilian lives. "We do not take this lightly," he said. "I want to assure the council members that we will do everything in our power to ensure that (coalition forces) take every precaution to prevent civilian casualties."Last week the U.S. military said 33 Afghan civilians had been killed in a U.S. air raid in August, up from an original estimate of five to seven. The incident put a strain on U.S. relations with Kabul and the United Nations.Eide told reporters that he welcomed U.S. assurances that "whatever can be done will be done" to avoid civilian deaths.