Between 18 and 27 August, OFII officials were mobilised at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to welcome 2,625 Afghans, day and night.
The territorial director of the OFII in Montrouge, who was quickly called upon to organise the reception of Afghans at the airport, answers our questions.
How did this welcome go?
I asked the officials of the Montrouge territorial directorate if they were willing to welcome the Afghans upon their arrival at the airport. Welcoming foreign audiences is part of our missions, but the context remains exceptional. All the officials present quickly accepted this mission. Their participation in this operation is all the more useful as they each speak different languages.
What languages do these officials speak?
Some of the officials speak Dari, Pashto or Urdu, which is a great help in communicating with Afghans.
What exactly was the role of OFII officials at the airport?
Their role was to guide Afghan nationals and French returnees through the various compulsory passage stages, while providing interpretation. For example, all passengers were required to undergo an antigenic test for covid-19. My team was particularly active in this area, providing information to the Afghans and translating for the medical services.
What follow-up is given to the welcoming of these Afghans today?
Various associations have taken care of the transport and accommodation of each person during their quarantine (mandatory isolation for 10 days). The first group sessions and individual information interviews on asylum applications in France began on 24 August and are currently being completed. Counters in Ile-de-France bringing together OFII and prefecture services have been specifically set up for this operation. The first recordings were carried out on 1 September and are continuing today.