İrem UZUN -TDO- The Pentagon is expecting orders by the end of this week that will reduce troop levels to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 2,500 in Iraq by mid-January, according to the U.S. officials.  President Donald Trump is expected to issue the orders for the reduction in troop levels in both countries later this week, officials said.

President Trump has long called for U.S. troops to come home and has criticized U.S. military interventions for being costly and ineffective. In September, the Pentagon announced it was to withdraw more than a third of its troops from Iraq within weeks - from about 5,200 to 3,000. At the time, top U.S. Middle East commander Gen Kenneth McKenzie said those remaining would continue to advise and assist Iraqi security forces in "rooting out the final remnants" of the jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS).

There are between 4,500-5,000 troops in Afghanistan now, and more than 3,000 in Iraq.  Under the planned order, the troop cuts would be completed just five days before Biden takes office, leaving him with a smaller military footprint in the two key war zones. Military commanders have expressed less concern about pulling more troops from Iraq, where the Iraqi forces are better able to maintain their nation's security.

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