General John Allen, US commander tipped for top Europe post, resigns


United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General John Allen prepares to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill June 28, 2011 in Washington, DC.


Chip Somodevilla

US commander General John Allen resigned on Tuesday, announcing his retirement from the military despite being nominated for top allied commander post in Europe, reported The Washington Post

Allen oversaw US and NATO forces in Afghanistan longer than any other military leader since the US invasion, said the Post. He had been nominated by the White House to replace General David Petraeus as the commander of International Security Assistance Force and US forces in Afghanistan. 

The four-star Marine general's resignation letter was accepted by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, said Reuters

"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," according to an Obama statement cited by USA Today

Allen, who oversaw America's military effort in Afghanistan for 19 months, said the decision was prompted by his wife's failing health, according to the Post

“Right now, I’ve just got to get her well,” Allen told the Post in a Sunday interview. “It’s time to take care of my family.”

He said it had nothing to do with an ongoing Pentagon investigation into his correspondence with socialite Jill Kelley of the Petraeus affair, with investigators continuing to go through their e-mail history although Allen was cleared of any misconduct last month, reported the Post, releasing the hold on Allen's nomination, said USA Today.

The move leaves the White House probing new candidates for one of the military's most powerful foreign posts.