KABUL, Afghanistan | UN: Last year saw highest number of Afghan civilian deaths

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — More civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year than in any of the previous nine years of the increasingly bloody conflict, according to a U.N. report released Sunday.

The report blamed the spike in deaths on increased suicide bombings by the Islamic State group and stepped up aerial attacks by U.S.-led coalition forces.

In its annual report, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said 10,993 civilians were killed or wounded last year, the highest number since the international organization began tallying figures in 2009.

The report comes amid efforts to find a peaceful end to the 17-year war, which have accelerated since the appointment in September of U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has since held several rounds of talks with the Taliban.

By KATHY GANNON ,Associated Press