Airbnb to open rental housing for fleeing Afghan refugees – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco-based short-term giant Arbnb on Tuesday announced that it would start offering free accommodation around the world to the thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan amid the takeover Taliban control.

Airbnb co-founder Ben Chesky made the announcement via a series of social media posts.

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“From today, Airbnb will start hosting 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world free of charge. The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and elsewhere is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel responsible for lifting ourselves up. I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to lose.

The company said it would cover the costs of the initiative for up to 20,000 refugees, drawing on donations to its Refugee Fund.

The past few days have seen a flurry of efforts to speed up a chaotic evacuation of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul airport, where scenes of desperation have highlighted both dismay at the U.S. withdrawal and fears that the Taliban again impose a brutal rule.

Group of Seven leaders plan to meet later today to discuss a possible extension of the airlift beyond the August 31 deadline for the US withdrawal despite a warning from the Taliban that would be a “Red line”.

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Since August 14, the United States has evacuated approximately 58,700 people from Kabul, with images showing relief and exhaustion after facing violent clashes, Taliban fighters and chaotic scenes at Kabul airport. In just 24 hours ending Tuesday morning, around 21,600 people were evacuated on US and coalition flights

In the aftermath of their stunning takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban leadership has vowed to restore security and tried to project an image of moderation, but many Afghans are skeptical. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet added to those concerns on Tuesday, warning that she had credible reports of “summary executions” and restrictions on women in areas under Taliban control. She urged the Human Rights Council to take “bold and vigorous steps” to monitor the rights situation.

Bachelet did not specify what period of time she was referring to or the source of her reports. It has been difficult to determine the scale of the abuses and whether they reflect the fact that the Taliban leadership is saying one thing and doing another, or whether the fighters on the ground are taking matters into their own hands.

When the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the group largely confined women to their homes, banned television and music, cut off the hands of suspected thieves, and organized public executions.

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© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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