Civilian casualties from operations conducted by the warring sides in Afghanistan escalated in April compared to the same period last year, a UN report said on Tuesday.

The United Nations called for a halt to the fighting and the start of intra-Afghan peace talks as part of a deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in February.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said the Taliban were responsible for 208 civilian casualties in April and government forces for 172.

The fighting has intensified in Afghanistan between the government forces and the Taliban militants, despite the US-Taliban peace deal.

A roadside bomb planted by the militants killed at least four civilians in southern Zabul province, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. Eight others including women and children were wounded.

Only this month major bombings and attacks across the country - including on a maternity hospital in Kabul and a funeral in Nangarhar - killed more than a hundred people, mainly civilians.

‘Parties have committed to finding a peaceful solution and should protect the lives of all Afghans and not jeopardize people's hope for an end to the war,’ said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Afghanistan.

In the wake of the recent attacks, the Afghan president blamed the Taliban and ordered the resumption of the military offensive while the US blamed Islamic State for major attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar.  The Taliban responded by calling the government's move a ‘declaration of war.’