UN: Afghan civilian casualties decreased 9 percent in 2017

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2017 file photo, Afghan people offer funeral prayers behind the body of a civilian killed in a suicide attack on a Shiite cult

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2017 file photo, Afghan people offer funeral prayers behind the body of a civilian killed in a suicide attack on a Shiite cult

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United Nations says the number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan's conflict decreased by 9 percent in 2017.

The U.N.'s 2017 Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan released on Thursday says that between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017, the mission documented 10,453 civilian casualties — 3,438 deaths and 7,015 wounded.

That compares to a total 11,434 casualties in 2016, when there were 3,510 deaths and 7,924 wounded.

Afghanistan has been mired in conflict since 2001 when the U.S. invaded after 9/11. The U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014 and shifted to a training role, but a resurgent Taliban stepped up their attacks and an affiliate of the Islamic State group also emerged.