Globe, World

Blood and dust

This summer, the US has plans to start reducing its troop numbers in Afghanistan. While many hope that this means NATO’s war against the Taliban will end soon, the number of combatants and civilians wounded and killed continues to grow.

The people with the best place to witness the gore of warfare are the medevac personnel, whose job it is to helicopter out and pick up casualties. Not only do the medevacs need to save the wounded they are picking up, they need to do it often under fire themselves. To show the public what it is like aboard one of these units, Frontline is hosting a screening of the film Blood and Dust on 6th March at 4 p.m. The film was shot by veteran freelance cameraman Vaughan Smith, who spent two weeks embedded with the paramedics of the US Army’s 214th Aviation Regiment in order to capture the footage, which gives a distressing account of the war and highlights the skill, honour and devotion of the medevac personnel.

Vaughan decided to shoot the film after he realized that, after a number of military embeds in Afghanistan, he had managed to effectively capture the machinery of war but not the suffering or bloodshed.

He stated that he had to work with Al Jazeera in editing the film, because he could not find another British news broadcaster that would show the film without cutting the stronger images, some of which are deeply disturbing. Although the film has a short length of 27 minutes, its images and message are sure to stick with the audience for a long time to come.

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