Outsiders fund Taliban: Holbrooke

BRUSSELS: The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan says Taliban militants are receiving more funding from sympathizers abroad than from Afghanistan's illegal drug trade.

Richard Holbrooke says the United States is setting up an interdepartmental task force to deal with the problem.

He says most of the money is coming from countries in the oil-rich Persian Gulf. But money for Taliban operations is pouring in from other parts of the world including Western Europe.

Holbrooke briefed EU officials in Brussels on Tuesday on the progress of the anti-Taliban campaigns in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He also urged the international community to help Pakistan deal with refugees uprooted by the fighting in the Swat Valley because the region is a vital staging area for militant operations in neighboring Afghanistan.