Four SAS logistics officers have been sent to Afghanistan to gather intelligence for a retribution attack on insurgents who killed five New Zealand troops.
Prime Minister John Key today revealed United States Special Forces would "almost certainly" carry out any such attack.
The officers, who left last week, are based in Kabul and have been working with the International Stabilisation and Assistance Force and special forces allies.
The Government announced last month the officers would be sent to Afghanistan after soldiers Private Richard Harris, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Corporal Luke Tamatea were killed in the Bamiyan province when a roadside bomb hit their humvee vehicle. Two weeks earlier Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer were killed in a fire fight with insurgents in the same area.
All five troops were part of New Zealand's provincial reconstruction team.
Key stressed today the logistics officers were not combat troops.
"They are working on trying to get better intelligence on the IED bombers and those who undertook the attack against our people.
"In the event that we can build that case, because you have to go through quite a legal process, that would allow essentially an attack to be undertaken against those people."
The deaths of the five troops took New Zealand's toll in Afghanistan to 10.
The Government confirmed earlier this month that New Zealand troops would be out of the war-torn nation by the end of April next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is John Banks' upcoming trial the end for the ACT party?Related story: Banks takes only viable option