By Kristina Wong - 02/27/14 04:34 PM EST
The head of U.S. Special Operations Command said the threat from al Qaeda is “much more broad” today than before.
Adm. Bill McRaven told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee that al Qaeda’s core in Afghanistan and Pakistan “has gotten markedly weaker” but that affiliate groups are surging in Yemen, North Africa, Iraq and Syria.
The threat to the homeland is less than it was five or 10 years ago, with “one or two exceptions.”
He also said the threat of an al Qaeda resurgence in Afghanistan could occur if the U.S. withdraws all forces — including special operators — from the country.
"If we do go to zero, and there is no special operations component left in Afghanistan, it will certainly make it more difficult to be able to deal with the threat...and the potential resurgence of Al-Qaeda in the area," McRaven said.
President Obama earlier this week announced that the U.S. would begin planning to withdraw all troops from the country after 2014, absent an agreement with Afghanistan that would allow them to stay after their combat mission ends.