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US - JOHN ALLEN

The White House says Marine General John Allen is retiring, instead of accepting the top job at NATO.

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday saying he accepted General Allen's request to retire in order to address health issues within his family.

The president praised Allen's "extraordinary service" in Afghanistan and his decades of service in the United States Marine Corps. He said the general is one of America's finest military leaders and a true patriot.

Allen recently left a 19-month command in Afghanistan where he led the International Security Assistance Force. He was nominated last fall to become NATO Supreme Commander.

Allen said his wife has chronic health problems that include autoimmune disorder.

Allen's NATO nomination was on hold during a Pentagon investigation into emails he exchanged with a civilian woman who was linked to the scandal that forced CIA Director David Petraeus to resign. Allen was cleared of wrongdoing.

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