International forces are winding down operations in Afghanistan that began in 2001 in response to a growing threat from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida. The terrorist cabal has since evolved into affiliate organizations ranging from Yemen's al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, involved in ongoing fighting in Mali.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that while al-Qaida central has experienced setbacks following the 2011 death of bin Laden, its affiliates are evolving as grave international threats.
"The resilience of terrorist networks underscores that long-term, diplomatic and economic initiatives, as well as international cooperation, are, as always, indispensable," she said in a statement.
Drone strikes against al-Qaida supporters in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere have sparked concerns about the legality of U.S. counter-terrorism policy. Rice said Washington must embrace state-building and economic development as corresponding national security tools.
"The United States recognizes that force, while necessary, is not nearly sufficient to counter the threat effectively over the long-term," she said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]