KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Froggy cannot forget the horrific blast.
It was in early June 2008 as hundreds of Canadian and Afghan soldiers swept through villages in the dangerous Panjwaii district of Kandahar province.
Froggy, as always, was sticking close to the man he calls “my major,” Edmonton-based Maj. Mark Campbell.
“He’s very handsome. He’s very excellent guy. He’s very smart major,” Froggy said.
“There’s a lot of Taliban in this village. So, we start in the morning fighting. We captured the first village, and the Taliban escaped to the other village.”
A six-year medic in the Afghan National Army, Mohammad Rahman, 42, picked up his nickname because of his raspy, throaty voice.
He was initially insulted, he said, until he was assured that another famous frog, presumably Kermit, was a bona fide television star.
Born in Logar province near Kabul, the married father of seven was lured from the Afghan army when a Canadian officer promised him more than the US$300 a month he was earning.
The soldier became an interpreter — a terp — for the Canadian military, guiding officers through the language and cultural maze of southern Afghanistan.
Froggy also treated Campbell when he lost both legs to an IED.
As he finishes his story about that day, Froggy talks about the one thing that scares him: the prospect of the Canadian forces leaving him behind.
His father, who died last month, and other relatives have received a dreaded “night letter” from the Taliban, warning he should quit his interpreter work or face death at their hands.
Froggy is pleading with the Canadian government to grant him and his wife, four daughters and three sons — who range in age from two to 20 years old — entry to Canada.
“How can I live in Afghanisntan?” he said.
“I request from the government of Canada, especially from the Parliament, to think of us, because we are working for Canadians very honestly.”
“Froggy, for me, is much more than an interpreter,” said Maj. Andrew Vivian, who eventually took over Campbell’s job. “He is my own personal cultural adviser.”