Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it would provide temporary housing worldwide to 20,000 Afghan refugees escaping a Taliban resurgence.
The Taliban has been rapidly expanding control in recent weeks, taking over much of Afghanistan since U.S. troops completed their withdrawal in July. Official statements and local reports indicate that at least 28,000 people have been evacuated from the country so far, according to Al Jazeera.
The growing number of Afghan refugees has raised questions about resettlement and placement, spurring Airbnb into action. Through its independent nonprofit Airbnb.org, the site will help provide housing to 20,000 Afghans fleeing Taliban rule, funded through public donations and contributions from Airbnb and its CEO Brian Chesky.
“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” Chesky said in a statement. “For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home.”
Airbnb.org plans to work closely with resettlement agencies and partners to facilitate the short-term stays and urged “fellow members of the global business community” to join global efforts. The nonprofit had already been providing emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee, HIAS and Church World Service to provide immediate temporary placement via the Airbnb platform for up to 1,000 Afghan refugees.
Since its inception in 2007, Airbnb has grown to four million hosts across over 220 countries and regions. Earlier this year, the platform launched a $25 million USD fund to support refugees and asylum seekers. It also offers an emergency response program to aid those in need from natural disasters.