Airbnb to welcome 20,000 Afghan refugees after Taliban takeover

A U.S. soldier watches civilians at an Afghan refugee processing center at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., August 24, 2021.

A U.S. soldier watches civilians at an Afghan refugee processing center at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., August 24, 2021.
Photo: Joshua Roberts (Getty Images)

Airbnb said on Tuesday it would provide free temporary accommodation to 20,000 Afghan refugees fleeing near-total takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban following the US military withdrawal, the program begins immediately.

CEO Brian Chesky tweeted early Tuesday that the company “will begin hosting 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world free of charge,” adding that while the company will pay for the stays, “we could not do it without the generosity of our hosts.” Chesky added: “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 stepping up. “

In a report, Airbnb said that she and Chesky would cover the costs through the non-profit 501 (c) (3) Airbnb.org, which has previously provided housing for disaster victims and relief workers. health during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Organization will also solicit donations for its Refugee Fund. It works with resettlement agencies and other partners to identify those in need of housing. The company added that it “urges other members of the global business community to unite their efforts to provide immediate support to the Afghan refugees.”

Reached by email, Airbnb did not say how long he would provide the accommodation or cover the bills. However, the company wrote in the statement that it had already provided 165 refugees from Afghanistan with “safe accommodation shortly after landing in the United States” last weekend.

The Taliban, an ultra-reactionary Islamic militant group originally backed by the CIA and the Pakistani inter-agency intelligence agency to fight the Soviets during the Cold War, controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were overthrown. by the United States following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 for providing safe haven for the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. But it was never near to be destroyed and continued to fight both the US-led coalition occupying the country and the security forces commanded by the US-backed Afghan government. President Joe Biden’s administration, after promising to end the seemingly endless U.S. occupation of the country, has so far chosen to honor a deal struck with the Taliban. under the administration of Donald Trump withdraw all US troops (although he extended the deadline until the end of August 2021). Despite assurances to the contrary from the Biden administration, the Afghan government offered little resistance and effectively ceased to exist beyond isolated groups of recalcitrant as the Taliban forces consolidated their control in just a few weeks.

The disastrous 20 years of American occupation have spanned four presidential administrations, caused hundreds of thousands of dead and untold economic and social damage. And according to UN estimates, ended with just under 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees. The only part of Afghanistan where US military forces remain stationed is Kabul Airport, where tens of thousands of refugees desperate to avoid retaliation and / or oppression from the resurgent Taliban have fled in recent weeks in a final effort to board the last aircraft leaving the country.

The Taliban have since announced that even if they will let foreign nationals go, they will not allow Afghan citizens to reach the airport, and they oppose any further evacuations beyond. August 31. Witnesses described the militant group suppression of dissent and retaliation against those suspected of aiding US or NATO forces during the occupation. Tuesday, according to CNBC, the Biden administration said it had evacuated or helped evacuate some 58,700 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, including about 21,600 airlifted since Monday. According to Washington postBiden told G-7 leaders on Tuesday that he believed the evacuation would be completed before the August 31 deadline. While he Should not announce an extension, the White House left open the possibility that the final withdrawal the date can change if necessary.

Many refugees are currently in squalid conditions, such as in hangars in Doha, Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base, where thousands of people are would have been detained in scorching August temperatures with no air conditioning and a dire lack of resources. Axios got an email, sent last Friday by US Central Command Supervisory Special Agent Colin Sullivan, detailing conditions at the base, including uncleaned human waste and a rat infestation. Sullivan wrote: “Without in any way minimizing the conditions in Kabul nor the conditions of the Afghans [sic] escape, the current conditions in Doha are of our own making.

Airbnb said in the statement that Airbnb.org has provided accommodation to approximately 75,000 people in need since 2012. Chesky tweeted, “I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to lose.

The company, which operated in Afghanistan during the U.S. occupation and there are still a small number of announcements as of Tuesday afternoon, is not alone in offering help during the crisis (and implicitly garnering some goodwill in public relations in the process). According to Reuters, Verizon Inc. has announced plans to waive charges for calls to Afghanistan until September 6, while Walmart donates $ 1 million to nonprofits to support Afghan refugees. The Pentagon said this weekend that it had enlisted 18 planes from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and others to take the displaced to their next destinations after disembarking from flights leaving Afghanistan, Reuters added.

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