The New Zealand Army will deploy three light armoured vehicles (LAVs) and crew to Afghanistan to support special air service (SAS) troops operating in the region.

New Zealand Minister of Defence Wayne Daniel Mapp said the vehicles would stay in Afghanistan for as long as they were needed by the SAS troops.

The LAVs will provide increased protection for the personnel especially from improvised explosive devices, which were one of the greatest threats to coalition forces in the region.

The vehicles being deployed to Afghanistan are armed with a 25mm cannon and two machine guns.

About 140 New Zealand defence force personnel are running a provincial reconstruction team in Bamyan province of Afghanistan.