Ex-commander may decline top NATO job: report

The US military said Wednesday the former commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, will be given time to rest before his next assignment amid reports he has decided not to accept an offer to become the next top NATO commander.

"After 19 months in command in Afghanistan, and many before that spent away from home, Gen. Allen has been offered time to rest and reunite with his family before he turns his attention to his next assignment," said spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steven Warren.

The statement came as Foreign Policy and other news media reported Allen would likely withdraw his name from consideration for the post of NATO's supreme allied commander.

Although a Pentagon investigation had cleared Allen of any wrongdoing in a scandal over emails with a Florida socialite, an official told Foreign Policy's "Situation Report" that the four-star general did not want to subject his family to a highly public nomination process in which senators would be asking him about the emails, the reports said.

Allen had discussed the issue with the military's top officer, General Martin Dempsey, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the reports said.

On Sunday, Allen handed over command of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to General Joseph Dunford, who will oversee the gradual withdrawal of US combat forces through 2014.

Allen's email exchanges with the Florida woman, Jill Kelley, were revealed during an FBI investigation that exposed an extramarital affair between CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus resigned and acknowledged his relationship with Broadwell.

Allen was investigated by the Pentagon's inspector general over the emails but the probe found he had not exchanged inappropriate messages with Kelley and had not violated the military's code, which prohibits adultery.

The White House had put Allen's nomination on hold after the scandal broke but the administration expressed full confidence in his work as commander in Afghanistan.