The Obama administration will open direct peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar in the next few days.

The startling announcement Tuesday came the same day four Americans were killed during a rocket attack at Bagram Air Field, outside of Kabul.

U.S. and NATO forces handed over the lead on combat operations in Afghanistan to Afghan security forces separately on Tuesday.

President Obama, who has made ending the decade-long Afghanistan War a priority, sought to tamp down expectations for the talks, while Republicans greeted the announcement with skepticism.