Canada's top soldier in Kandahar, Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard, has been relieved of command. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard has been relieved of command of Canadian troops in Afghanistan following allegations he was involved in an inappropriate personal relationship while in theatre.

Military sources have told CBC News that Ménard, head of Joint Task Force Kandahar, is alleged to have had an affair with a female member of his staff.

The military has strict rules forbidding its personnel from engaging in personal relationships while in theatre. They include relationships of an emotional, romantic or sexual nature.

The Defence Department issued a statement saying only that the decision was made following "allegations concerning Ménard's inappropriate conduct related to the Canadian Forces personal relationships and fraternization directives."

Ménard's spouse also serves in the Forces.

Col. Simon Hetherington said Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard made the decision to relieve Ménard of his duties after he lost confidence in Ménard's ability to command.

An investigation into the allegations has been launched, DND said.

Hetherington has been designated acting commander in the interim. In the near future, Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance will assume command, pending the arrival of the next commander, Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner, DND said.

Earlier this week, Ménard was fined $3,500 — the stiffest fine ever levied on a soldier for mishandling a weapon.

He received the fine after pleading guilty to an offence under the National Defence Act in a court in Gatineau, Que.

The March 25 incident occurred as Ménard and his boss, chief of defence staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk, were about to board a Blackhawk helicopter at Kandahar Airfield.

Ménard said he was loading his C8 carbine, something he has done thousands of times, when it discharged. No one was injured and nothing was damaged, but the National Defence Act makes it an offence to accidentally discharge a weapon.

Ménard formally took over from Vance as top officer for Task Force Kandahar last November.

With files from The Canadian Press