Ménard departure no concern: NATO general

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard — recently relieved as Canada's top commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan — has returned to Canada and been sent on leave, CBC News has learned.

The British general in charge of NATO troops in southern Afghanistan said he continues to have confidence in the Canadian contingent despite the sudden recall of Canada's top commander in Kandahar. 

Maj.-Gen. Nick Carter said the departure of Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard, who was relieved of command following allegations he was involved in an inappropriate personal relationship while in theatre, will not make any difference.  

"He's got a very able deputy who had been commanding [Joint] Task Force Kandahar for the last three or four weeks anyway while [Ménard] was on holiday," Carter told CBC News,  referring to Col. Simon Hetherington, who has been designated acting commander in the interim.  

Canada's nearly 3,000 forces are a considered a key part of the NATO contingent that, alongside Afghan army and police, are planning an aggressive summer to undermine Taliban influence in the region.

"I won't comment on anything else to do with it but I am entirely confident in the capacity of the task force to do what is required of it," Carter said.

In another development Ménard has returned to Canada and has already been sent on leave, CBC News has learned.  

Military spokesman Major Mike Audette said Ménard arrived on Monday.

The female soldier he's alleged to have had an extra-marital affair with also returned on Monday.

Audette refused to provide any information about the female staffer allegedly involved in an affair with Ménard.

But he said reports the soldier involved was a low-ranking corporal "might not be accurate."

Military police investigators are still examining the allegations and refuse to say when their investigation might be complete.

Ménard has been ordered to report for duty in a few days and will be placed under the command of the Chief of the Land Staff, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie.

Audette said he was unable to say what job Ménard will be ordered to do.

"That has yet to be determined," he said.

With files from James Cudmore