Gen. Allen returns to Afghanistan command

Gen. John Allen has returned to Afghanistan to continue serving as the top U.S. commander, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.


Allen's move back to Kabul comes after the Pentagon announced earlier this month that it was investigating the general over alleged "potentially inappropriate" communications between him and a Tampa, Fla., woman, Jill Kelley.

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Kelley's complaints about harassment over the summer prompted an FBI investigation that uncovered former CIA Director David Petraeus's affair with his biographer, leading to his resignation earlier this month.

The FBI probe also discovered communications between Allen and Kelley, and the agency turned over 20,000 pages of emailed correspondence between the two to the Pentagon.

Reports at the time said Allen had denied any wrongdoing.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly backed Allen last week, saying the general retained his "confidence" and should continue serving as Afghanistan commander, while the Defense Department probe proceeded. 

Allen had been nominated to be NATO's Supreme Allied Commander-Europe and head the U.S. European Command, but that promotion was put on hold pending the investigation.

Panetta, though, had asked the Senate earlier this month to move quickly to confirm Allen's nominated successor in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Jeremy Herb contributed.

This story was updated at 9:06 a.m.