KABUL, Afghanistan — Roadside bombs killed five foreign troops and five government soldiers Saturday, part of a surge of violence that has made Afghanistan's battlefields deadlier for foreign forces than those in Iraq.
The U.S. administration already has highlighted the Iraq-Afghan comparison to lobby its NATO allies — with limited success — to commit more forces to Afghanistan for a conflict likely to test the West's stomach for a long, grinding war.
Violence continues unabated despite the more than 60,000 foreign troops in the country and fresh pledges of financial aid to President Hamid Karzai's struggling government.
Last year, more than 8,000 people were killed in insurgency-related attacks — the most since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion — and violence has claimed more than 1,700 lives so far this year.
Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department official and now an Afghan expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, said the rising casualties would sharpen the focus on Afghanistan in the U.S. presidential race. "What's being brought home is the nature of the conflict. It's in the true fashion of a guerrilla operation and we're not prepared for it," Weinbaum said.
In Saturday's deadliest incident, a roadside bomb hit a coalition convoy west of the main southern city of Kandahar, killing four troops and wounding two others. Coalition spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Fanning declined to release the nationality. To the east, a Polish soldier from the separate NATO-led force died when a bomb hit his patrol. Four other soldiers were wounded.