15 Mar 2011

Full NZ withdrawal from Afghanistan years away

3:00 pm on 15 March 2011

The Defence Minister says New Zealand will have to maintain a presence in Afghanistan for up to four more years.

Wayne Mapp has been in Brussels for talks between the NATO countries and the International Security Assistance Force.

The ministers have been discussing which districts, areas or provinces can make the first transition to Afghan security control.

During the weekend, Afghan president Hamid Karzai renewed his call for the foreign troops to leave, saying the country's tolerance has run out.

Dr Mapp says a full departure is still some time away, as transition is expected to take two years but a presence after that would still be required.

It would be a total process of three or four years, he says.