May 31st, 2010
08:30 AM ET

Canadian commander in Afghanistan out

The chief of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan has been relieved of duty following allegations of an inappropriate relationship, the country's military said.

The Canadian military has a strict non-fraternization policy. And Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard's alleged relationship caused the military to "lose confidence" in his ability to command, the National Defence and the Canadian Forces said in a statement late Saturday.

The military said it will not release additional details about the allegations, but that it had launched an investigation.

For now, the military has appointed Col. Simon Hetherington, the current deputy-commander, to lead the 2,800 Canadian soldiers in the country.

On Tuesday, Menard was fined $3,345 - the stiffest fine ever levied on a Canadian soldier for mishandling a weapon, CNN affiliate CBC said.

Menard was boarding a helicopter at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan on March 25 when he said his rifle accidentally went off while he was was loading it.

No one was hurt in the incident. But Menard faced a court martial in western Quebec, where he pleaded guilt to accidentally discharging a weapon.

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