Disrupt & Dismantle

How do we disrupt and dismantle al Qaeda in Afghanistan if they're not there?

CIA Director Leon Panetta said on Sunday there may be less than 50 al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan, with "no question" that most of the terrorist network is operating from the western tribal region of Pakistan. Asked to describe what an American victory would look like in Afghanistan, Panetta said: "Our purpose, our whole mission there, is to make sure that Al Qaeda never finds another safehaven from which to attack this country. That's the fundamental goal of why the United States is there. And the measure of success for us is: do you have an Afghanistan that is stable enough to make sure that never happens."
With al Qaeda based in Pakhistan and operating in other countries, like Yemen and Somlia, Isn't the Afghanistan effort like trying to eliminate all ants in the world by attacking them in your own back yard?