It is an exceptional story with a happy ending. Endangered by death in their country, an Afghan family of ten was filtered and rescued at the cost of an incredible chain of solidarity.
It all started with an email received on Saturday, August 21 at 7:51 p.m. In this message, one man explained that he was in imminent danger of death. This e-message, written in mid-summer, sent to a general messaging system, could have taken the direction of the trash can. However, they were referred to Gregory Bozonet, the chief of staff of Michael Delafosse, the mayor of Montpellier.
In 2003, Georges Freche declared him an honorary citizen of the city
In this message, Hakimullah Ghaznival explained that he is the former mayor of Ghazni commune, with which Herault Prefecture established an exchange in 2002, after the fall of the first Taliban regime. A year later, Georges Freche, then the socialist mayor of Montpellier, received his colleague with all due respect and made him an honorary citizen of the city.
“We immediately tried to do everything we could to respond to the call of this man and his family for help. “They were among the Afghan civilians who, unfortunately, could not use the air transport to leave the country,” explains city councilor Christian Assaf. An operation was then established to help them reach France, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and the American non-governmental organization Open Society.
Repatriated by a private MHB plane upon his return from a Champions League match
After many upheavals and agreements by the Taliban authorities, the evacuation will be successful on October 7 for Hakimullah Ghaznival, his wife, their seven children and the wife of the eldest of the siblings, for whom issuing a pass was more complicated. Exfiltration through Tbilisi in Georgia, before the new departure and support of the Red Cross in Skopje. This Wednesday, they were found in the Macedonian capital by Christian Assaf and a delegation from Montpellier. The place is anything but the result of chance. “The MHB handball team went there on a private plane to play a Champions League match,” Christian Assaf continues. We took the opportunity to recover them and bring them back with us. “
Handball, like an amazing red thread. Anyone who escaped from Chief of Staff Georges Freche in the early 2000s remembers this visit well. “We especially attended the MHB handball match. He told me that he remembered the atmosphere in Bougnol. I have been involved in politics for years. I think a lot about this sentence that the Jews say about the Righteous, “which saves lives, saves all mankind.” Times like this really feel useful. When they left, Hakimullah Ghaznival and his relatives left almost everything on the spot. “But among the few personal things, is this medal the part that represents safe behavior for him.”
Solidarity chain in Montpellier
The city of Montpellier and its mayor Michael Delafosse will take care of their accommodation. The dean of the law faculty offered the children to continue their university studies and learn French. The Montpellier Association of Afghans should help them integrate into life in Montpellier. “An extraordinary chain of solidarity has been established in Montpellier. “