Top US general to retire, not take Nato job

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that General John Allen will retire and 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 Gen Allen would not take up Mr 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," Mr Obama said in a written statement.

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

Mr 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," Mr Obama said.

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