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Top US general to retire, not take Nato job: Obama

February 19, 2013

US General John Allen has decided to retire rather than proceed with his nomination as the Nato supreme allied commander, President Barack Obama said on February 19, 2013.-Reuters Photo

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that General John Allen will retire and therefore not accept the top job at Nato, as he seeks to take care of his family after a 19-month tour in Afghanistan.

Speculation had been rife for weeks that Allen would not take up Obama's offer to accept the job as the alliance's supreme commander, even after he was cleared of wrongdoing in a drama over emails to a Florida socialite.

“Today, I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family,”Obama said in a written statement.

Allen had returned from his post as the top US general in Afghanistan and asked for more time to think over his future.

Obama praised the Marine General for presiding over “significant growth” in Afghanistan's security forces and a “further degradation” of al Qaeda.

“Above all, he cares deeply for the men and women in uniform who serve our nation, as well as their families, and I am grateful for the sacrifices made by his family in supporting him during his service,” Obama said.