Sunday 16 May 2021 | 05:54 | SYDNEY
Sunday 16 May 2021 | 05:54 | SYDNEY

Dutch Apaches in Afghanistan


Sam Roggeveen


5 March 2008 08:33

Via the defence technology blog Ares, below (click on the 'more' button) is some amazing footage from the camera onboard a Royal Netherlands Air Force Apache attack helicopter operating in southern Afghanistan.

Just so we can't be accused of hosting 'war p*rn' here at The Interpreter, I want to explain why the footage is revealing. First, the accompanying audio demonstrates how closely the Dutch helicopter crew (there are two onboard) is working with the American soldiers on the ground, in this case to find and kill Taliban apparently staging an ambush (note the excellent English of the Dutch crew — it isn't just the international language of commerce). Given Dutch forces are also working closely with the ADF in Oruzgan province, you would expect this footage is typical of Dutch-Australian operations too.

Second, the footage demonstrates the care these forces take to find their targets. In another time, it would have been standard practice to flatten the whole complex of buildings seen in the footage, with all the risks to civilians that entails. Technology now allows for far more precision, and that has reduced the risk to civilians. Clearly, civilians still suffer tremendously in wars like this, but it counts as a significant moral advance that they can now so much more easily be excluded from the fighting.