MCLEAN, Virginia - President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed the United States would keep relentless pressure on al Qaeda and ensure extremist networks, which he called a principle threat, do not find safe havens overseas.

We know that al Qaeda and its extremist allies threaten us from different corners of the globe -- from Pakistan but also from East Africa and Southeast Asia; from Europe and the Gulf, Obama said in a visit to the National Counterterrorism Center.

And that's why we're applying focused and relentless pressure on al Qaeda, he said, citing intelligence-sharing, disruption of terrorism financing, and attacks on al Qaeda's leadership.

Obama spoke in an operations center called the bat cave, as his administration works on a new Afghanistan strategy that is partly aimed at defeating Taliban extremists and al Qaeda.

He said U.S. counterterrorism efforts were making progress in defeating al Qaeda and other extremist networks.

It should now be clear -- the United States and our partners have sent an unmistakable message: We will target al Qaeda wherever they take root; we will not yield in our pursuit; and we are developing the capacity and the cooperation to deny a safe haven to any who threaten America and its allies.

(Writing by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Paul Simao)