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An Afghan border forces soldier stands guard at a U.S. forces base, which has been handed over to Afghan border forces in Dih Bala district of Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan, inj July. Photo: Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua via Getty Images

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said Wednesday the U.S. would cut its number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by early 2021, per Reuters.

Details: "When President Trump took office, there were over 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan," O’Brien said at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, event. "As of today there are under 5,000 and that will go to 2,500 by early next year."

Of note: Trump contradicted O'Brien later on Wednesday, tweeting, "We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!"

  • The president did not elaborate.

The big picture: The U.S. struck a deal with the Taliban in February to begin a gradual drawdown of American troops from the country.

  • U.S. troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan under the peace agreement the following month.
  • The Trump administration did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Trump defies Congress, vetoes $740 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Al Drago via Getty

President Trump defied Congress on Wednesday, vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Why it matters: The House and Senate passed the $740 billion defense spending bill with veto-proof majorities, setting up a potential override fight.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Leaders of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis participate in an interview addressing their grief. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Law enforcement in Indianapolis have identified the eight people killed in Thursday's shooting at a FedEx facility.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

3 hours ago - Health

The health care system collects the effects of racism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A person without stable housing doesn't have a place to keep insulin cold. A person without a car may not be able to get to the doctor until it's an emergency. A low-wage worker is less likely to have health insurance, and therefore more likely to skimp on care they might need.

The big picture: The American health care system delivers far better results for white patients than it does for people of color, and those health disparities are in large part a reflection of broader social and economic inequality.

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