More than 1,000 civilians were killed in 2006, many of them as a result of attacks by the Taliban and other anti-government forces in southern Afghanistan, the report said.

Berlin meeting
 
The New York-based group's statement was released to coincide with a meeting of the Afghan government and its backers in Berlin on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Long-term efforts to build the solid governmental institutions a stable Afghanistan requires are faltering"

International Crisis Group report

 
Afghanistan's government has "failed to meet the  benchmarks on improving human rights and security", Human Rights Watch said.

 

The rights watchdog said the United States, the European Union and other donors should provide "greater economic, political and military assistance necessary to protect the human rights of Afghans".

 

Aid pledge

 

The United States last week extended the tour of duty of 3,200 troops and pledged $10.6bn over two years, mostly to build the Afghan army.

 

The European Union said on Monday it would contribute $775m in aid over the next four years, largely to bolster the judiciary to fight corruption.

 

The pledges came amid warnings that the Taliban could attempt a strong push this year.

 

The International Crisis Group of political analysts said the insurgency had attracted attention after a year of "terrible violence" and that the "long-term efforts to build the solid governmental institutions a stable Afghanistan requires are faltering".

 

Joanna Nathan, a senior analyst, said that increasing violence had led the government to resort to "short-sighted, quick fixes that work around the new democratic institutions" needed for eventual stability.