America’s war on al-Qaida is taking a new direction, moving beyond declared combat zones like Afghanistan while countering the terrorist network’s search for new sanctuaries, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

Panetta said the evolving campaign will feature the use of small U.S. strike forces; more partnering with foreign commandos; and more training and other forms of assistance that enable partner nations to combat terrorism on their own. …

“All this sends a very simple and very powerful message to al-Qaida, to the Taliban, and to the violent extremist groups who want to regain a safe haven in Afghanistan: We are not going anywhere; our commitment to Afghanistan is long term, and you cannot wait us out,” Panetta said in a speech to the Center for a New American Security, a think tank.