Airbnb offers free accommodation for 20,000 Afghan refugees

Chief executive Brian Chesky says he hopes the company's move will inspire other business leaders to do the same

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Airbnb is hosting 20,000 Afghan refugees free of charge as it helps people fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in the country last week.

The hosting of refugees around the world started on Tuesday, Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive of the home-rental company, said on Twitter.

The company's non-profit arm, Airbnb.org, which helps displaced people with accommodation in times of crisis, is working closely with non-governmental organisations, partners and entities on the ground in Afghanistan to support the refugees.

“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time,” Mr Chesky said in a series of tweets. “We feel a responsibility to step up.”

He said there was no time to waste and expressed hope that the San Francisco-based company's move “inspires other business leaders to do the same”.

Tens of thousands of Afghans and foreign nationals have fled the country after the Taliban seized power two decades after they were toppled by the US and Nato.

The takeover by the militants raises the risk of economic collapse as the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, drought and a weakening currency.

The swift fall of the Afghan government was followed by scenes of chaos at Kabul’s international airport as hundreds of people, desperate to flee the new regime, tried to board flights out of the country.

The US and the UK are in the process of repatriating stranded citizens and refugees before an August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.

The US is trying to extend the deadline but the Taliban have refused to budge, calling it a “red line”.

The UAE has helped more than 20,000 people who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country, according to Afra Al Hameli, Deputy Director of Strategic Communications at the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

Airbnb, one of the biggest travel companies in the world that operates an online marketplace for travel information and booking services, said it will be “paying for these stays”.

Mr Chesky said the company could not do it “without the generosity” of hosts who will accommodate displaced Afghans.

“If you are willing to host a refugee family, reach out and I will connect you with the right people here to make it happen!”

Updated: August 24th 2021, 12:32 PM
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