US envoy for anti-ISIL coalition to step down
WASHINGTON - Reuters
AP PhotoThe U.S. special envoy for countering the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), retired Gen. John Allen, plans to step down for personal reasons, a U.S. official said Sept. 22.
Allen, a retired U.S. Marine four-star general and a former commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, had originally agreed to serve in the job for six months but has now done so for a year, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
While acknowledging disagreements within Washington over U.S. policy toward the militant group, which has seized control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, the U.S. official said Allen’s plan to step down reflected personal, not professional, factors.
The Syrian civil war has raged for more than four years, creating a vacuum in Syria that ISIL has exploited to seize territory there and in neighboring Iraq.
Allen’s job included rallying a U.S.-led coalition that has carried out airstrikes against ISIL fighters in both nations. Asked if Allen had told colleagues he planned to leave, State Department spokesman Mark Toner did not answer directly, telling reporters that he “remains focused on his duties.”
Allen’s plans to step down were first reported on Bloomberg View.