Engagements

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 7th July 2010.

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Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 11:30 am, 7th July 2010

I certainly join the hon. Gentleman in paying the tribute that he has rightly paid to Sergeant Jamieson and to all who have served. Anyone who has met some of the soldiers-when visiting Headley Court, or elsewhere-who have lost limbs in combat, through improvised explosive devices or in other ways, cannot help being incredibly impressed by their spirit and bravery, and their determination to go on and live as full lives as possible.

We have set out very clearly what we want to achieve in Afghanistan. This is the key year, when we surge up the military forces and surge up the political pressure. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will make a statement later today about how we can best do that, and how we can ensure that our forces are properly spread across Helmand province so that we can really have the effect that we want.

Let me be clear. Do I think that we should be there, in a combat role or in significant numbers, in five years' time? No, I do not. This is the time to get the job done, and the plan that we have envisages our ensuring that we will not be in Afghanistan in 2015. We have already been in Helmand for four or five years, and, obviously, we have been in Afghanistan since 2001. It is time to maximise the pressure now, and then to bring our forces home as we train the Afghan army and police force to do the job that needs to be done, which is to keep the country secure. That is our goal, that is in our national security interest, and that is what we will do.

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