Airbnb offers budget accommodation in a Taliban hotbed

The listing said the accommodation was in one of the most secure locations in Quetta. Photo / Airbnb
The listing said the accommodation was in one of the most secure locations in Quetta. Photo / Airbnb

Travellers can now book budget accommodation in the Taliban hotbed of Quetta via Airbnb.

The Pakistani city has been plagued by armed conflict, terror attacks and targeted killings despite efforts to improve security in recent years.

However guests can pay NZ$24 per person, per night for a room in a "secure", guarded location at a gated housing complex.

Room for up to six guests was available. Photo / Airbnb
Room for up to six guests was available. Photo / Airbnb

Up to six people can stay at the family home, where meals and car parking are available as additional extras.

Host Muhammad insisted that visitors would be safe in the "posh" suburban area.

The British Foreign Office, on the other hand, advises against all but essential travel to the city in the restive province of Balochistan.

Earlier this month, a suicide attack on a polio vaccination centre killed 15 people, mainly police officers escorting health workers at risk of attack from Islamic militants.

On Monday, a roadside bomb killed at least six paramilitary soldiers on the outskirts of the city in an attack that was claimed by a separatist group.

The Taliban's core leadership are also said to have regrouped in Quetta after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

But Muhammad claimed the provincial capital had suffered from "media hype" and was "much safer" than Pakistan's largest city Karachi, where he has also lived.

He said: "It's a given you need to practise general prudence in avoiding sensitive areas which are quite far away from my place where I myself live as well.

"The security situation is better by leaps and bounds generally in Quetta.

"The place is in a suburban area in a peaceful neighbourhood close to the heavily-secured Cantonment area

"The neighbourhood is in a secure, walled, gated housing scheme with security guards at the gate.

Car parking and meals were available at an extra charge. Photo / Airbnb
Car parking and meals were available at an extra charge. Photo / Airbnb

"No more security arrangements have ever been required in the last 10 years that me and my family have been living here. The area is considered a posh living area so there wouldn't be much concerns related to it. There is 24-hour police patrolling the main road adjacent to the housing scheme."

Stays are also available for NZ$79 per night in Hillah, Iraq, close to one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces.

The capital of Babylon province was the scene of heavy fighting during the US-led invasion in 2003 but has been trying to welcome back visitors wanting to see ancient ruins.

Travellers can also pay NZ$32 to stay at a "large family home" in Najaf, which is considered the Shia world's spiritual capital and welcomes millions of pilgrims every year.

Elsewhere in the city guests can sleep on a sofa for £36 per night.

The Foreign Office also advises against all but essential travel to Hillah and Najaf.

In Afghanistan, Airbnb users can book a stay at a house in Kabul described as a "bright, cheery, friendly and peaceful" home, albeit with 24-hour armed guards.

A guest described the host as "intellectual, extroverted, sincere and lovely."

In Turkey, another property owner advertises traditional mud-brick houses in the province of Sanliurfa, close to the country's southern border with Syria.

The NZ$17-a-night accommodation is in Balikligol, noted for its history and peaceful ambience.

But nervous travellers might not be reassured by the fact it is around 80 miles from the Isis heartland of Raqqa in Syria, which has led to a flow of refugees into the province.

Airbnb, which allows people to list, find and rent lodgings online, attracted controversy earlier this month when a host claimed her flat in London was trashed by more than 100 revellers who held a New Year's Eve party.

An Airbnb spokesperson said: "Before booking international travel or traveling internationally, we recommend you consult the relevant agencies in your government (for example the State Department for US citizens) for any travel warnings or travel advisories that may apply to countries or regions included in your travel plans."

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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