Kabul, Afghanistan: A million Afghans live in Helmand province. Nearly 100 British soldiers have died here this year alone. Raw painful facts but not enough to convince David Cameron that British troops should come home any time soon.
Speaking at the headquarters of Taskforce Helmand, Mr Cameron declared that he was "not interested in cutting and running nor setting an artificial timetable" for withdrawal. He added that whether he was in opposition or in government he wanted to help British forces come home with their heads held high.
What this marks is an end to a long period during which the military's frustrations with the government were taken up and amplified by the Conservatives. The Tory leader now says that he is happy with the strategy planned by General McChrystal and adopted by President Obama and Gordon Brown. He says he's happy too with the resources committed to it. His one concern is that talk of timelines has encouraged talk of "our boys coming home in 2010" which could encourage the Taliban to believe they can simply sit and wait for international forces to leave.
David Cameron was shown what success looks like in Afghanistan. At a wheat distribution centre he spoke to farmers queuing to collect seed sold to them at a massive discount in the hope that it will tempt them away from growing poppy and fuelling the opium trade which finances the Taliban.
Next, to a bazaar in Nad-e Ali where people dare to shop and the Taliban fear to tread - something unthinkable just a few months ago.
Each of these small steps will, it's argued, add to the people's sense that it is their government and the international forces, not the Taliban, which guarantees them prosperity and security.
All this comes at a cost, of course. That name - Nad-e Ali - may sound familiar. It's the place where five British soldiers were shot by a member of the Afghan National police. Their names are on a monument next to that of Guardsman Jamie Janes and others who gave their live trying to secure Afghan streets and, in the process it's hoped, British streets too.
Again and again today David Cameron was told by the soldiers he met that they didn't want sympathy. What they want is support. Sympathy, one told me, was for losers and the British army aren't losers. Similarly they are sick of the pessimism that has taken hold of the public and blame politicians and the media for spreading that gloom.One squaddie remarked ruefully - "I'll only get on TV if it's in a coffin".
I find it impossible to assess whether the army's confidence is misplaced but I was struck by their conviction that what they are doing is right.
There are, though, constant reminders of how far this country has to go, even eight years on from the war's beginning. Every journey we made today to witness the good news was made first in a Chinook helicopter which has to swoop first this way then that to minimise the chance of incoming fire and maximise churning stomachs. On the ground, trips are made in armoured cars, in full body armour accompanied by drivers whose radios crackle with warnings of "statics" or "slow moving from the left" - each a possible suicide bomber.
At a news conference with Governor Mangal of Helmand - the international community's model administrator - I met his son. He'd been attacked twice, had quit his university studies and complained that he was - in effect - a prisoner who, unlike his father, could not rely on armed protection and armoured cars. Another son who's based in the UK has applied for asylum.
On arriving at Kabul we were given a security briefing about five threats we faced - as well as suicide bombs there were roadside bombs, gunfire, kidnap and, well, the fifth one temporarily eludes me.
What's clear is that the political leaders of all three main parties have decided to throw their weight behind what David Cameron described today as a "last chance". Let's hope it works