A record number of US troops – and Afghan civilians – died in 2008. Frustration mounts over fighting Taliban insurgents among villagers.
A provincial reconstruction team's visit to a remote area underscores the challenges of winning hearts and minds.
Technology offers troops in Afghanistan a respite, but some wonder if the tether is too short.
Insurgents' ability to breach the post in Kunar Province is seen as a significant escalation in the fight.
The commando battalions, just a year old, are being trained and deployed nationally as a mobile, quick-reaction force.