France has sent two Gazelle
reconnaissance helicopters to Afghanistan, as well as another EC 725 Cougar
transport chopper. The 1.8 ton Gazelle is similar to the U.S. OH-58. The 11 ton
EC 725 is similar to the U.S. UH-60. All three have arrived and are in action.
France already had two transport helicopters there, but the lack of recon birds
was partly responsible for a Taliban ambush last August, where ten French
soldiers were killed. The nations that have been fighting in Afghanistan the longest
(the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia), are enthusiastic users of UAVs and
helicopters to scout routes in areas where the Taliban may be active, or even
if there are no Taliban believed to be around. That's because banditry is a
popular outdoor sport in Afghanistan, and anyone not from your tribe is
considered fair game.