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Gen. John Allen, Recent Top Commander In Afghanistan, Is Retiring

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen in March 2012.

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until earlier this month and had been on track to be the top NATO commander in Europe, is retiring from the military.

The White House early Tuesday afternoon released a statement from President Obama that says, in part:

"Today, I met with Gen. John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family. I told Gen. 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. ...

"John Allen is one of America's finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly. I wish him and his family the very best as they begin this new chapter, and we will carry forward the extraordinary work that Gen. Allen led in Afghanistan."

The 59-year-old Allen, as we've reported, got indirectly ensnared in the scandal that brought down another general -- then-CIA Director David Petraeus -- last November.

It became known that Allen had been in contact with Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite who turned to the FBI when she began receiving what she felt where threatening emails. Those emails turned out to be from Paula Broadwell, a biographer with whom Petraeus was having an extramarital affair. Shortly after the Petraeus scandal was revealed, it was reported that Allen had exchanged hundreds of emails with Kelley in recent years. As investigators looked at those messages, Allen's promotion to the NATO position was put on hold. Then, last month, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

We'll update with more as this story develops.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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