According to reports marine Gen. John R. Allen, the longest-serving leader of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, asked President Obama on Tuesday morning to accept his retirement from the military.
US president Barack Obama says Allen is retiring so he can address family health issues and called him one of the nation’s finest military leaders and a true patriot.
Allen recently left a 19-month command in Afghanistan and was nominated last fall to become the U.S. military’s top soldier in Europe.
Obama quoted in a statement released by White House said, “I told General 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.”
The decision deprives Obama of a four-star general with whom he had built a close wartime relationship and forces the White House to find a new candidate for the military’s most prestigious overseas assignment.
In January, Allen was cleared by Pentagon investigators of allegations of professional misconduct over email exchanges with a Florida socialite.
Allen had commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan where he oversaw the strategic shift from troop-intensive, counterinsurgency operations to the development of local security forces. As he orchestrated that shift, he managed the removal of 33,000 U.S. troops from the country and the response to a spate of attacks on coalition personnel by members of the Afghan security forces.