One of the leading relief operations that is providing assistance to Afghans and others desperate to flee the country is led by a Catholic, Timothy Keegan, who is also CEO and Founder of The Coalition of Hope Foundation (COH) and also works in the financial sector.
Keegan established COH to provide Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) for exactly this type of broad, catastrophic emergency. He has already rescued and evacuated nearly 30 individuals in Kabul at grave risk of being tortured and killed if captured by the Taliban.
‘This ongoing crisis will certainly result in a more broadly fought civil war between well-armed enemies that will stretch international humanitarian support capabilities beyond practical limits’ Keegan told the Herald. ‘The collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban ascension to power has resulted in a catastrophic humanitarian crisis’.
Born in South Florida, Mr. Keegan was raised a Catholic and attended a number of religious schools, including St. Lawrence grade school, Chaminade High School (operated by the Marianists), as well as courses at Barry University (founded in 1940 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters) and St. Thomas University (the only Catholic Archdiocesan sponsored university in the state of Florida).
Keegan is a decorated combat veteran and recipient of the highly prestigious (DoD) General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. He has held elective office in Florida and served on a number of State and local advisory boards. He also works in the financial sector.’As an organization with decades of hard-earned experience in Afghanistan, our thoughts and prayers for the Afghans are immeasurable” says Keegan. The COH relief operations have been established in order to augment US and NATO evacuation efforts within Afghanistan. Few NGOs or former combat soldiers have as much experience in Afghanistan as found within Keegan’s COH organization.
Keegan is a former US Army intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, where he supported NATO / ISAF operations throughout the country. It is this type of broad strategic experience with the military and various political / governmental institutions that allows the COH Foundation to engage with senior decision-makers across the globe. Additionally, it provides a solid foundation for the type of keen insight and innovative planning necessary in advance of catastrophic events.
‘As the Taliban began capturing the various towns and cities on their drive to Kabul, the COH Foundation quickly began contingency planning for rescue, evacuation and resettlement operations,’ he told the Herald.
Keegan’s organization has sourced appropriate civilian aircraft and aggregated the necessary manifest documentation from many despairing souls on the ground awaiting departure. ‘We are standing by for new windows of opportunity to continue our life-saving flights as the opportunities present themselves. We have already rescued an initial group of 27 “Taliban-targeted” individuals and had a number of further evacuations planned over these past several days; unfortunately conditions on the ground became even more dangerous and those mission have been postponed due to security concerns.
The COH organization is uniquely positioned to provide critical support to those seeking an escape (irrespective of nationality) in and around the Kabul International Airport,when conditions on the ground permit. The COH Foundation is vetted and approved by the various US Governmental authorities in charge of these operations, including the US Department of State and Department of Defense as an authorized facilitator of humanitarian relief and evacuations.
The situation in Afghanistan is changing every day based upon deteriorating conditions on the ground and the shifting policy statements from the US White House, as the Biden team quickly seek to redefine an “updated” go-forward strategy.
“In my opinion, there are two basic options; neither of them good. The US forces withdraw and evacuate who they can in the time that the Taliban permits. Alternatively, the American forces decide to fight (based upon the Taliban not living up to their previous agreements with the US) and we see a rapid build-up of combat troops as the US forces ready to go on the offensive. In this scenario, the ANA forces likely join our attack on the Taliban and we have an extraordinarily bloody fight in the urban areas over the coming months. Irrespective of the catalyst, I expect that we will see a substantial resistance grow in Afghanistan to the Taliban rule.
“The Afghans in the major cities and elsewhere had the opportunity to experience a taste of freedom and openness, that once provided is very hard to relinquish. The knowledge provided to the Afghan populace through US / NATO educational efforts, the introduction of western culture and values, in addition to the ability to plan and organize through the internet will foster a popular uprising. I expect the Afghan economy to essentially come to a stop in the near term due to the lack of US and European financial support. As Afghan infrastructure crumbles and basic social services become non-existent, the people will begin to starve and there is no way for the Taliban, with a limited number of followers, to control the millions of Afghans (many with weapons and ammunition) that will ultimately rise-up against them.
“The COH organisation relies on donations to keep up the evacuation work. ‘While we do not know what the future holds in terms of how many people can be evacuated from the chaos, we do know that there will be no end to the ongoing Afghan civil war. We must have the emergency funding available to support those that have been tragically enveloped within this catastrophic struggle. The time is very short and how we act in the bitter days ahead defines our morals and echoes our value as members of the global community’.
Within the COH organization, we believe it important to build funding in advance of what we believe will be the next phase of assistance efforts, what we call “R3”…Ransom, Rescue and Resettlement. Our assessment is that the Taliban have at least 500 hostages already, with many more to follow. Christian missionaries are at particular risk and they are scattered throughout the Afghan countryside, without any means of official US organized support.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund