Oct. 7 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday said all U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas, seemingly escalating the timeline to bring the nearly two-decade-long war in the Middle Eastern country to an end.
"We should have the small remaining number of BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!" he said on Twitter.
His comments Wednesday, however, came hours after his national security advisor Robert C. O'Brien, speaking at a University of Nevada event in Las Vegas, said the United States would draw down to 2,500 troops in Afghanistan by early next year.
"When President Trump took office, there were over 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan," he said. "As of today, there are under 5,000, and that will go to 2,500 by early next year."
In late February, the United States and the Taliban signed a historic peace deal to end the war in Afghanistan that has cost the United States some $2 trillion and the lives of more than 2,400 troops since it began following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Under the agreement, the U.S. military would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan within 14 months contingent upon the Taliban meeting specific conditions, such as severing ties with terrorist organizations and engaging in negotiations with the Afghan government, which until that point it had refused to do so.
Trump has repeatedly said he wants to withdraw the remaining troops from the country and he told reporters last month that "we'll be down to 4,000 soldiers in a very short period of time."
In September, David F. Helvey, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs, said there were between 4,000 and 5,000 troops in Afghanistan with the plan to draw down to zero by May 2021, contingent on the Taliban meeting its requirements.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also traveled to Qatar last month to attend the opening ceremony of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations, which started on Sept. 12.