The Government is looking at giving some Afghans a "pathway" to New Zealand as the Taliban - a listed terrorist entity - continues to capture cities in the Middle East nation.
It would be a revisit of a policy under former Prime Minister John Key, which oversaw 140 Afghans - mostly interpreters employed by the Defence Force (NZDF) and their family members - relocating to New Zealand.
Between 2013 and 2014, 44 Afghan interpreters and 96 of their immediate family members were resettled in New Zealand.
The Taliban has ramped up its seizure of cities in Afghanistan since the United States began to withdraw. Overnight the extremist group took its 11th provincial capital in less than a week, bringing them within 150km of the capital Kabul.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been driven from their homes so far due to the conflict, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, fleeing not only the fighting but the prospect of the Islamist regime that ruled before 2001 being reimposed.
Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, told The AM Show it's understood security forces aren't even putting up much of a fight.
"Their resources are finite. They've only got so many special forces and they're using US air strikes and their own air strikes, but they just don't have the manpower or the air support," she said.
"I don't see how they can turn this around - the morale is really low."
US officials last week confirmed plans to evacuate thousands of vulnerable Afghan interpreters before the American military completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan so they can wrap up their visa applications from safety.
US Representative Mike McCaul, speaking to Reuters after discussing the plan with administration officials, said the evacuees will comprise some 9000 interpreters who have applied for Special Immigration Visas and their families.
Australia has also stepped up. About 80 Afghan interpreters and their families landed in the country last month after being granted a safe haven for their work alongside Australian troops.
Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, after initially telling Newshub last week there were no plans to repatriate Afghans outside New Zealand's refugee programme, told reporters on Thursday the Government is now considering it.
"We're looking at that. It's hard for us to understand how many might want to apply for a pathway," Faafoi said.
"We've had some discussions with officials to kind of give us an idea of what that might look like, but I think what you've seen over the last week has seen things escalate pretty quickly there.
"My recollection of some time ago, there was quite a lot of difficulty ascertaining who might be eligible for the first tranche of interpreters that came through, but again, we're asking for some advice."
Faafoi said he'll have more to say after discussions with the Defence Force.
"They're a crucial part of the puzzle because they're the ones who are going to be able to ascertain the kind of relationship these people may have had with the Defence Force while they were in Afghanistan."
What happened last time?
In October 2012, the National-led Government announced an assistance package and resettlement offer for 23 interpreters employed by the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Bamyan Province, where New Zealand had a military presence.
The offer was expanded a few months later for local staff who had been closely involved with the NZ Defence Force and police in Bamyan within the previous two years, along with their dependents.
In April 2013, 30 interpreters and their 64 family members arrived to a warm welcome from Defence Force, immigration and police personnel at Whenuapai Airbase.
In July 2018, 68 former Afghan interpreters and their families became New Zealand citizens at a ceremony at Kirikiriroa Marae in Hamilton.
Why was New Zealand involved?
New Zealand has made a military contribution to Afghanistan since 2001, losing 10 soldiers there - most while carrying out their duties as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
The New Zealand presence was sparked by the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 following Al-Qaeda's attack on New York's World Trade Centre. Afghanistan was at the time ruled by the Taliban, which rose from the ashes of the post-Soviet civil war.
It was accused of providing al-Qaeda sanctuary for operations.
The Taliban initially lost control of the country after the US invaded, and a US-backed Afghan government came to power. But by 2018 the Taliban was regaining influence and carrying out dozens of attacks on Afghan security forces.
Last year the US signed an agreement with the Taliban in Doha to withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces, in exchange for an assurance that the Taliban would "prevent any group or individual, including Al-Qaeda, from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies".
In February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand would conclude its Afghanistan deployment in 2021 after 20 years.