Our servicemen and women have been at the forefront of combat fighting in very difficult circumstances and are also making a significant contribution to the rehabilitation and future of …Afghanistan.
Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP, 25 April 2004
About the award
The Afghanistan Medal recognises service of Australian Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan from 11 October 2001.
The Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard, announced the establishment of the Afghanistan Medal and the Iraq Medal on Anzac Day 2004.
This campaign medal honours those Australian Defence Force members who served, and continue to serve, in and around Afghanistan.
Australian Defence Force deployments to Afghanistan are also recognised through the award, the Australian Active Service Medal ICAT.
The Afghanistan Medal was formally established by Letters Patent on 30 September 2004.
How it is awarded
The Governor-General awards the medal on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Force or his/her delegate.
Australian Defence Force members serving in the following operations are recognised: Operation Slipper, from 11 October 2001 to 5 December 2002. Operation Palate, ongoing from 6 December 2002.
Eligibility includes a specified period of (aggregated) service or, in the case of Air Force members, a qualifying number of sorties.
The Afghanistan medal features the Commonwealth Coat of Arms on the front and images of symbolic relevance to the area of operation on the back.
The reverse of the Afghanistan Medal shows a snow-capped mountain range with a multi-rayed sun rising behind the mountains. The mountains represent the dominant terrain of the country and the rising sun signifies a 'new dawn' for the nation.
The word 'Afghanistan' is inscribed in English and in the Arabic script of the two dominant languages of Afghanistan, Dari and Pashton.
The medal ribbon has a central vertical stripe of red, signifying the conflict in Afghanistan. This is flanked by stripes of purple representing the three arms of the Australian Defence Force. Stripes of khaki, white and light blue border the inner stripes. They symbolise the Afghanistan terrain, the snow-peaked mountains and the sky above, respectively.