Five Must-See Dispatches, Videos and Blogs From Afghanistan

Next month, President Obama plans to start reducing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by an as-yet undetermined amount. The following is a round-up of reports from Afghanistan, including what soldiers face in the country and how the Taliban are finding new ways to communicate.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Photo by Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images

1) Combat in the First Person: Haruti 

(Caution: The video contains strong language.)

A camera attached to the helmet of a soldier from Alpha Company, First Battalion, 87th Infantry, captures a raid of a Taliban compound in the northern Afghan village of Haruti and resulting firefight in December 2010.

The report, narrated by Spc. Michael Gannon, is part of a larger collection following one battalion’s year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

The helmet cameras, which some soldiers use on their own to record their activities, show events in a more intimate way than print can muster, said James Dao, national correspondent, military and veterans affairs at the New York Times, who was involved in the project. Gannon had to press a button every 10 minutes to store the footage from his camera, otherwise it would record over itself. After filming the day of the raid, Gannon gave the New York Times seven hours of footage to edit into its 7-minute piece.

2) On Location: Kandahar — the Fog of War

GlobalPost’s James Foley reports on the struggle U.S. forces have differentiating between local residents and Taliban spies.

"That’s the hard part about an insurgency — they don’t wear a uniform like we do," U.S. Army Capt. Mike Krayer tells Foley.

3) In Shift, Taliban Embrace New Media

An article in GlobalPost explores the Taliban’s use of Twitter and other social media to spread its message.

"If I can’t reach the Taliban by phone, they send an SMS. If there is no SMS, they send an email. One of the Taliban spokesmen even sends me alerts on Facebook," said Jawed Hamim Kakar, regional editor at Pajhwok, an Afghan news agency.

4) Casualties: Home and Away

The Associated Press reports that at least 1,496 U.S. military members have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion began in late 2001.

And more than 2,400 U.S. and coalition forces have died during the nearly 10 years of the war. CNN’s interactive for Afghanistan and Iraq chronicles the ages and hometowns of the deceased.

5) Sulaiman the Afghan Rock Star

The BBC profiles a young rock musician in Kabul who has known war for half his life.

"If I want to live with honor and pride, I should be in my country," he says.

We’ll have more on the debate over Afghan nation-building on Wednesday’s NewsHour. View all of our World coverage and follow us on Twitter.