US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that a pair of military raids against militants in north Africa sends the message that terrorists "can run but they can't hide".
In raids in Somalia and Libya, US special forces on Saturday struck against Islamic extremists who have carried out terrorist attacks in East Africa.
They captured a Libyan al-Qaida leader allegedly involved in the bombings of US embassies 15 years ago.
After a fierce firefight, a US Navy Seal team in Somalia aborted a mission to capture a terrorist suspect linked to last month's Nairobi shopping mall attack.
Mr Kerry, in Bali for an economic summit, was the highest-level administration to speak about the operations yet. He made his comments at an event at a port for Balinese tuna fishermen.
"We hope that this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror," Mr Kerry said.
"Members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organisations literally can run but they can't hide."
Mr Kerry vowed that the US would "continue to try to bring people to justice in an appropriate way with hopes that ultimately these kinds of activities against everybody in the world will stop".
The Pentagon identified the al-Qaida leader captured in Tripoli, Libya, as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi.
He has been on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list since it was introduced shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001.