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The U.N. mission in Afghanistan said 83 civilians were killed and 46 wounded in aerial attacks by international military forces in the first half of 2012. That figure was down 23 percent from the similar period of 2011 — the deadliest year on record for civilians in the Afghan war. It said that two-thirds of the casualties last year were women and children and that insurgents were responsible for the overwhelming majority of the deaths.

Afghans currently lead about 90 percent of military operations nationwide and will fully take charge in the spring. However, they remain heavily dependent on the coalition for air support and medical evacuations from remote areas.

The coalition insists it takes special care to avoid civilian casualties in operations while noting many high-level Taliban commanders and other militants have been killed.


• Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Patrick Quinn contributed to this article.