If John Key thinks that further NZ military involvement in Afghanistan would be part of an ‘overall exit strategy’ from the country then he surely must think again. Such a naive position can only be a result of either ignorance or wishful thinking.

Although Western leaders are loathe to admit it in public, because it invariably goes down badly with voters, the military presence there is going to go on for a long time yet – if it is to end successfully.

A very good indication of this came yesterday from someone who no longer has to fear public opinion on the conflict: the former German Defence Minister Peter Struck.

His opinion is that German troops will be needed there for ten more years: ‘It would be nice if it were less, but we cannot kid ourselves’.

The conflict is receiving hightened media coverage here due to the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan, the elections to the German Bundestag end of September, and rising casualty rates.