The Prime Minister has released the names of the three New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan, including one woman.
He says they were in the Bamyan Province with the Provincial Reconstruction Team on the road to Romero, when their vehicle was bombed.
They are 31-year-old Corporal Luke Tamatea, 26-year-old Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, and 21-year-old Private Richard Harris.
The Defence Force says it happened at 9.20am local time yesterday (4.50pm NZT).
Prime Minister John Key expressed his sorrow at their deaths.
He says it highlights the gravity of what New Zealand troops face in Afghanistan.
Mr Key says his condolences go to their families.
"It's a time of great grief for them, but also for New Zealand. I mean, five people now in the course of about two weeks is a massive blow.
"Each and every one of these soldiers leaves behind a family and loved ones. I'd like to reassure them that their sacrifice will not be forgotten and they will always be remembered by all New Zealanders.
"The flags on the Parliament forecourt are once again flying at half mast today in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice these brave young soldiers have made serving their country."
He says the killed soldiers have paid the ultimate price for their selfless work.
"The next of kins have obviously been spoken to as we try and also speak to all of the other families of serving members up there to try and put their minds at rest, but obviously our huge sympathy goes to the families that have lost their loved ones."
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has expressed his sorrow to the families.
"This is the most terrible day that could be ever visited on loved ones of a service person. My thoughts are also with the members of Crib 20 in Afghanistan - I know this will hit those people there very, very hard."
"I just want to reiterate that they have the Government's full support. They've been doing a great job over a long period in Bamyan, but certainly this is a very, very dark day."
New Zealand troops could be out of Afghanistan by the middle of next year, but there are no guarantees more won't die.
Defence Force Chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says they're looking to withdraw the PRT team in the first half of next year.
"A large part of those timings will be dictated by the need for us to stay for some of the aid programs that are going on."
And General Jones says more casualties can't be ruled out.
The Australian Defence Force will help bring the bodies of the three latest soldiers killed in Afghanistan home, hopefully by the end of this week.
General Jones has thanked the Australians for providing an aircraft to bring the bodies of Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker,and Private Richard Harris home.
The RNZAF will pick them up from Australia.
He says he's still talking to the families about details for a memorial service.
"We're expecting them to come back towards the end of the week, depending on the time taken for the coroner investigation. That will then dictate the timing for any commemoration service we have. But I will say that will be dependent on the families' needs and desires and we build our requirements around that."
It's the first female fatality in battle in more than 40 years.
"The first since the Vietnam War - we had a nurse killed in the Vietnam War, and there were females also killed in the Second World War."
The latest attack is being called proof the security status of Bamyan Province has declined.
Professor of International Relations at Otago University, Dr Robert Patman, says it shows the Taliban knows the international presence is leaving.
"Clearly from the Taliban's point of view, they want to test out the security situation that will be in place after the international presence withdraws."
Meanwhile the opposition believes our military is locked in a battle it can't win.
Labour's Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff says the corrupt government there is battling al Qaeda, and this is no longer a fight against international terrorism.
"We can't win a civil war fighting for a government that can't win the support of its own people."
Mr Goff is asking what more can be achieved in Afghanistan.
"New Zealanders (would) understand sacrifice, but to have sacrifice you've got to say, is there an obtainable objective that we can achieve by staying there longer, and I think the answer to that is no."
However Labour leader David Shearer says New Zealand troops shouldn't cut and run from Afghanistan.
Mr Shearer says there are a number of reasons New Zealand should remain.
"One is out of respect for the work and the sacrifice that our soldiers have made, but secondly because cutting and running will just mean that we have increased instability there."
He says we shouldn't risk jeopardising improvements made to Bamyan province by pulling out too quickly.
"They've all been as a result of our efforts there and I think we may need to make sure that we don't jeopardise those by pulling out too quickly, but at the same time I think we've done just about as much as we can do and we should try and transition out as well as we can."
Prime Minister John Key says the plan is still to bring the troops home sometime next year.
"Take place in the early part of 2013, that final decision will probably be made in the next couple of weeks. In terms of the argument should we simply cut and run and leave this afternoon - that is neither practical nor, I would argue, sensible, nor is is the right thing to do."
The Green Party says today's for mourning, not for talking about our country's future role in Afghanistan.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says for the moment the place to put our thoughts is with the families of those killed.
"We can have this debate about whether to continue with the deployment tomorrow and we'll certainly be seeking an urgent debate in Parliament to have that, but today we're much more focused on the families. Losing a (child) in the war is a terrible thing."
The RSA says it's deeply saddened by the deaths of three New Zealand Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan.
National president Don McIvor says flags at all RSAs will be flying at half mast again.
"On Saturday we had commemorations around New Zealand to commemorate 37 people who lost their lives in Vietnam and so in that context in almost makes it a very sad weekend overall."