US General John Allen, who oversaw the Nato war effort in Afghanistan until earlier this month, has decided to retire instead of pursuing his nomination as head of the military alliance.
President Barack Obama made the announcement in a brief statement last night, citing General Allen's family health issues as the reason for the resignation.
General Allen, whose wife has suffered from chronic health problems, has been under pressure in recent months as the target of a high-profile Pentagon investigation that in January cleared him of wrongdoing after examining email exchanges with a Florida socialite.
The investigation arose from the sex scandal that forced retired General David Petraeus to resign as CIA director in November. The White House had publicly said it would move forward with Allen's nomination for the Nato job.