The Afghans of France, a growing and divided community

The black-red-green tricolor, the one that the Taliban have taken down all over Afghanistan, still flies above the entrance to Afghan Best Food, rue de La Chapelle, in the 18e district of Paris. A passer-by points to the standard: “It’s no longer good, we have to change!” “ “Me, it is this flag that I respect”, replies the owner of the restaurant, which the joke is only half amusing. Amanullah Qudratullah lost his father in 2014, killed by the Taliban. Two years later, this 38-year-old man with a gentle face landed in France with his wife and children.

In his town of Maydan Shahr, southwest of Kabul, where his mother and sisters now live in recluse, Amanullah Qudratullah was a car dealer. In 2019, he opened this restaurant, succeeding an Indian fast-food restaurant, and Afghans from all over Ile-de-France now come to treat their nostalgia by dipping their steaming kabab chapli (minced meat, tomato, onion, chilli) in a garlic sauce.

Also listen How the Taliban took over Afghanistan

Two other Afghan restaurants mark out rue de la Chapelle, which had none five years ago. It is because since then, the Afghan population has significantly increased, in the district as in France.

From 1980 to 2010, France welcomed between 100 and 200 Afghans each year, then between 400 and 700 until 2014. ” Next, explains Delphine Rouilleault, general manager of the France Terre Asile association, the start of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the Syrian crisis led to a first movement of migrants towards Europe, especially towards Germany, Sweden and Norway. And then, from 2018, we saw secondary flows internal to the European Union, and many of these “dublines”, who had been rejected in their country of arrival, came to submit a second asylum request in France. “

In the hall of the Afghan Best Food restaurant, where customers can eat traditional Afghan dishes, in Paris, in August 2021.

Aim for family reunification

Thus, the Afghans became, three years ago, the first beneficiaries of the right to asylum in the country: since 2018, the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) has received just over 10,000 applications. asylum per year from Afghan exiles. It granted 5,500 in 2018, 6,244 in 2019, 7,494 in 2020 – almost a quarter of the total of foreigners admitted to France that year (33,204).

At the end of 2020, a total of 34,902 Afghans were under Ofpra protection: 8,109 as refugees (fleeing persecution or personal risk), 26,793 under subsidiary protection (against generalized violence in the native country). Some “45,000 Afghans currently have a residence permit”, indicates the Ministry of the Interior, a figure to which must be added all those who are in an irregular situation, by definition impossible to quantify.

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