Hon. Jim Karygiannis
Mr. Speaker, I said when I started my comments that this was a very difficult position for me to articulate, having lost a member of my extended family in Afghanistan.
I also visited Afghanistan. I was not put in a military camp and restricted in my movements. I had the freedom to move and to talk with individual Afghans. I had no security.
I saw the difficulties the Afghan people were encountering. I saw what they wished for, an education for their children, a roof over their heads, probably a car and a better life tomorrow. We must engage the international community, especially NATO, so once we leave Afghanistan, someone else is there to take over from us.
We cannot say we are leaving right now. We cannot pack up our bags and say that the war is not going well and that we are not going to play any more. We have made a commitment. We have spent a lot of money. We have to give notice. Giving notice and saying that we need to change the engagement from peacemaking to peacekeepers is difficult because there are no two people to divide. We can say that in two years we will be gone, but we might leave some of the troops behind to do some work in aid. That is an excellent position for us to take. To say that we will leave right now is not a position we can take.
My hon. colleague talked about what happened when Spain left Iraq. Let me remind him what happened in Spain. A train was bombed. There was a change in the government and it said that it would move right away. That was not Afghanistan. That was Iraq.
Afghanistan is a totally different situation from Iraq. We are not in Iraq thanks to the Liberals.