Canada's Afghan commander removed, misconduct alleged

Sun May 30, 2010 1:56am EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The commander of Canada's troops in Afghanistan was stripped of his duties because of allegations of an inappropriate personal relationship, the Canadian military announced late on Saturday.

Brigadier-General Daniel Menard was removed from his position as commander of the Joint-Task Force Afghanistan and replaced by Col. Simon Hetherington as acting commander, a statement said.

Canada has about 2,500 troops in Afghanistan as part of NATO forces fighting the Taliban.

The military made the decision "following allegations concerning Brigadier-General Menard's inappropriate conduct related to the Canadian Forces Personal Relationships and Fraternization directives," the statement read, adding that it had lost confidence in Menard's capacity to command.

The Canadian military said it was investigating the allegations, which come a week after Menard was fined for accidentally firing his rifle at Kandahar Air Base.

A former commander, Brigadier-General Jon Vance, will soon return to Afghanistan to assume command pending the arrival of the next permanent commander, Brigadier-General Dean Milner.

Further details were not immediately available.

Since Canada began its military mission in Afghanistan in 2002, 145 Canadians have died there. The mission is due to end next year.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty, editing by Anthony Boadle)

 
<p>Brigadier-General Daniel Menard, Commander Joint Task Force Afghanistan, speaks to media following his court martial proceedings in Gatineau, Quebec May 25, 2010. REUTERS/Blair Gable</p>