The NZGSM (Afghanistan) was instituted in 2002 to recognise New Zealand personnel (both military and non military) who served in Afghanistan from December 2001. There are two qualifying geographical areas for the award. The ‘primary’ operational area is within the borders of Afghanistan itself, while the ‘secondary’ operational area includes:
- Sea areas in the Middle East where New Zealand ships and aircraft undertook maritime interdiction patrols to intercept weapons and other contraband being transported to support international terrorist groups; and
- Areas of countries near Afghanistan in which forces were based to support the operations in Afghanistan or support the maritime interdiction patrols against international terrorism.