Airbnb to shelter 20,000 Afghan refugees for free

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has announced it will host 20,000 Afghan refugees for free. (Source: Getty)
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has announced it will host 20,000 Afghan refugees for free. (Source: Getty)

Short-term rental platform Airbnb will provide emergency accommodation to thousands of Afghan refugees for free, CEO Brian Chesky has announced.

Chesky made the announcement on Tuesday evening (AEST) as troops scramble to evacuate people out of Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s recent takeover of Kabul.

“Starting today, Airbnb will begin housing 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free,” Chesky announced on Twitter.

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Airbnb hosts will be compensated by the rental platform to provide temporary accommodation for the refugees.

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

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Brian Chesky appears on stage during the 'The Game Plan: Strategies for Entrepreneurs' Airbnb Open 2016 on November 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images) EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally retouched
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. (Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Airbnb CEO said he hoped the move would inspire other business leaders to do the same.

“There’s no time to waste.”

He encouraged people who were willing to host refugee families to reach out.

Chesky's tweet has already been liked more than 6,000 times and retweeted over 1,700 times at the time of publishing.

The announcement attracted immediate praise from people on Twitter, some who said it was a "beautiful and compassionate initiative", with another remarking "humanity still exists".

Individuals are able to either make a donation to or offer free stays to refugees as an Airbnb host.

The Taliban seized control of Kabul and the Afghan presidential palace on 15 August. More than 28,000 people from Afghanistan have been evacuated.

Most Afghan refugees tend to flee to neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, according to The Conversation.

Australia will resettle more than 12,000 Afghan refugees in coming years, SMH reported yesterday.

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 23: Refugees after the arrival of a plane with 260 people from Afghanistan, at the Torrejon de Ardoz air base, 23 August 2021, in Madrid, Spain. A total of seven planes have departed from Kabul airport to the Torrejon base with Afghan evacuees and collaborators from Spain, after the country has been controlled by the Taliban. Spain has managed to evacuate a total of 566 Afghans, about half of whom have applied for asylum in Spain and 91 have already been transferred to reception centres. (Photo By A. Perez Meca/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Refugees after the arrival of a plane with 260 people from Afghanistan, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo By A. Perez Meca/Europa Press via Getty Images)

The US is facing pressure from allies to extend the evacuation deadline of 31 August to give more time for troops to evacuate those who want to flee the country.

WATCH BELOW: Afghanistan evacuation at 'max effort' as deadline looms

Recent comments from US President Joe Biden that the US could extend the deadline were shut down by a Taliban spokesperson, who said it was tantamount to “extending occupation”.

It's a red line. President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” said Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.

“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations - the answer is no. Or there would be consequences.

“It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction.”

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