US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says New Zealand and Australia have played a crucial role in the war in Afghanistan.
At the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Mrs Clinton said America is deeply grateful to New Zealand and Australia for their participation in the coalition effort.
"We cannot afford to see Afghanistan turn back into a haven for terrorism that threatens us all," she said.
Offering her condolences for the deaths of soldiers from both countries, Mrs Clinton said New Zealand and Australia's soldiers and civilian workers are highly regarded.
She said New Zealand's contributions have been far beyond what one would ordinarily expect of a country its size.