US general named to head NATO retires
Washington, Feb 20 : The general named by US President Barack Obama as the next supreme commander of NATO relinquished his appointment and is retiring from the Armed Forces, the White House said Tuesday.
Gen. John Allen, who was head of NATO troops in Afghanistan, met Tuesday with Obama, who announced that he accepted the request for retirement "so that he can address health issues within his family", the White House said in a statement.
"I told Gen. Allen that he has my deep, personal appreciation for his extraordinary service over the last 19 months in Afghanistan, as well as his decades of service in the United States Marine Corps," Obama said.
Allen was investigated for supposedly "inappropriate communications" with Jill Kelley, one of the women involved in the scandal that led to the resignation of retired Gen. David Petraeus as director of the CIA.
The scandal halted the process of Allen's designation, though the president maintained faith in his candidate, who was exonerated of all guilt in the case last month.
The Pentagon's Office of Inspector General said that Allen did not violate the military ban on improper conduct by a military officer.
"John Allen is one of America's finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly. I wish him and his family the very best as they begin this new chapter," Obama said.