Foreign Minister Murray McCully says Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan where New Zealand troops have been working since 2003 will be ready to stand on its own before the 2014 deadline set by the troubled country's President, Hamid Karzai.

At a conference yesterday in the capital Kabul, Mr Karzai reaffirmed his commitment for Afghan police and soldiers to take charge of security nationwide by 2014.

The one-day international conference on Afghanistan's future was held during a crunch period where Nato and Afghan forces are attacking Taleban strongholds and the insurgents are pushing back. Rockets fired at the Kabul airport on Tuesday forced the diversion of a plane carrying UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sweden's foreign minister.

Mr McCully told NZPA the mere fact the conference where about 70 countries were represented was held was a small victory.

He welcomed President Karzai's 2014 goal.

New Zealand has about 140 Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan. They run a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) operating in Bamiyan province, and have been there since 2003. Also about 70 New Zealand SAS are in Kabul mentoring local forces there.

"I am not in a position where I can express a view about the position in the south where there is more substantial conflict, but in Bamiyan we are more than ready to take the next few steps in the transition process."

In the province local police were already taking the lead with the support of the PRT, which was led by a civilian. Progress was being made in development and governance.

"In Bamiyan we can make faster progress than 2014, significantly faster," he said.

"On Bamiyan I have pressed very hard to ensure both the Afghan government and the Nato leadership understand the readiness of Bamiyan province for transition. I want to see the work that our people have done there properly recognised and frankly the gains that they have made fully banked and fully employed. I think we should see the next transitional step in the coming months there."

The New Zealand Government aims to draw down military presence in Bamiyan and increase civilians. It has yet to make a decision about whether to roll over the SAS presence -- they are due out next March but Prime Minister John Key has said the possibility of a smaller contingent staying longer would be considered.

Mr McCully said that discussion has not been held and it would not be for some weeks.

"There's a real question mark over just how much progress we will be able to make on the security front over the coming months. The next few months will be very telling."

At the conference Mr Karzai talked about his government's desire to take charge of more of its affairs and asked international backers to distribute more of their development aid through the government. Many donor countries concerned about corruption distribute most of their aid through international development groups or contractors. Mr McCully said the donor issue was really for bigger players than New Zealand and the Government's "modest" budget was directed at projects in Bamiyan that tied in with PRT efforts.

"The general point though is along with the rest of the international community we would want to see anti-corruption measures on a more significant and successful scale before there was to be a decided shift towards funding activities through the afghan government accounts."

- NZPA