US General Allen to lead operations against Islamic State

Retired US Marine general John Allen, former commander of American forces in Afghanistan, was appointed coordinator of the international effort against the Islamic State extremist group, the State Department announced Friday.

AFP| Updated: Sep 13, 2014, 02:15 AM IST

Washington: Retired US Marine general John Allen, former commander of American forces in Afghanistan, was appointed coordinator of the international effort against the Islamic State extremist group, the State Department announced Friday.

"In this role General Allen will help continue to build, coordinate and sustain a global coalition across the multiple lines of efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, referring to the jihadists that have marauded against parts of Iraq and Syria.

President Barack Obama, in announcing a strategy to destroy the group, said the creation of an international coalition that included Arab and Muslim states was vital to the anti-IS effort.

Allen`s deputy will be Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran.

Allen directed US troops as well as the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013. He also served a key US military role in the Iraq war.

In late 2012 President Barack Obama nominated Allen to be supreme commander of transatlantic alliance NATO, one of the most prestigious US military posts.

But he withdrew from consideration in the wake of a relationship scandal and subsequent inquiry that also led to the resignation of David Petraeus as CIA director. Allen retired from the military in February 2013.

In 2012, Allen advised and oversaw the withdrawal of 34,000 US surge troops sent to war-torn Afghanistan three years earlier to stem rising violence and to help thwart the Taliban.

He previously served as second in command of CENTCOM, the US military command overseeing operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Allen won particular acclaim in Iraq. He was stationed in the country`s west from 2006 to 2008 and established vital links with Sunni tribal leaders, convincing them to turn against terror network Al-Qaeda rather than attack US forces.

The so-called "Anbar Awakening," a strategy coupled with massive reinforcements, was extended to the whole of the country and was credited with improving security.