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August 8th, 2014
06:19 PM ET

Fmr. Ambassador: Air strikes in Iraq will not be enough

(CNN) – Defeating the militant group that has gained a foothold in northern and western Iraq requires more than just U.S. air strikes, says a former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.

"Air strikes in combination with work with the Kurds, with the local forces – Sunnis and Shias – would be enough," said Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – or ISIS – made significant territorial gains in a short period of time, similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan, says Khalilzad.

"They, too, moved very quickly to cover a lot of areas, but then we applied air power in combination with northern alliance and other Afghan forces were able to push them out of Afghan cities," said the former ambassador.

"What we need to do is to have a coordinated strategy, with local forces moving as we take them down, degrade their capabilities for them to move against those forces," says Khalilzad.

For more of our interview with former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, check out the video above.

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