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Red Cross concerned about rise in Afghan civilian casualties

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is concerned about a rise in civilian casualties as the Taliban wage their spring offensive.

The Taliban launched the annual offensive last week with an attack in northern Kunduz province, signaling a violent fighting season to come.

Dominik Stillhart, ICRC's director of operations, said Thursday the organization helped 345 wounded people reach health facilities in the first three months of this year, up 19 percent on the same period last year. He noted a suicide attack in eastern Jalalabad on April 18, which killed 35 people and wounded 150, and for which no group claimed responsibility.

He says donors are reducing funding despite rising humanitarian needs. The ICRC has received only 25 percent of its funding needs for this year.

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