Afghanistan's president, who addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, is urging the next American leader to send money, planes and equipment to strengthen the Afghan army. "In other words, enable us to defend ourselves and to fight the bad guys,'' Hamid Karzai said at the Asia Society in New York on Tuesday. Either Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain will be dealing with an increasingly vicious battle against a determined insurgency opposed both to Karzai's government and to the presence of foreign troops. Taliban attacks have grown larger and more deadly, making 2008 the most violent year in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban's hard-line Islamist government. At least 120 U.S. soldiers and 104 troops from other NATO nations have died already in 2008, both record numbers. Overall, more than 4,500 people _ mostly militants _ have died in insurgency-related attacks this year.  On Monday, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend the NATO-led force in Afghanistan but was critical of the growing number of civilian casualties, and urged its troops and U.S.-led forces to make major efforts to minimize civilian deaths. Karzai also has long complained that civilian deaths caused by U.S. or NATO military action undermine his government and the international mission.  Asked about the increase of civilian deaths and the popularity of the U.S.-led campaign against extremists, Karzai said Tuesday that Afghanistan would be an extremely poor, miserable country without the help of the United States and its allies.''