ISIS says Afghanistan leader still alive, despite reports that he was killed in US drone strike

KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Monday released an audio tape it said was of the movement's leader for Afghanistan, contradicting reports that he was killed in a United States drone strike.

The message purportedly from Hafez Saeed was posted to an ISIS website two days after the Afghan intelligence agency said he had been killed.

The audio could not be independently verified.

Saeed, a Pakistani, was reportedly killed in the Achin district of Nangarhar province late on Friday, the intelligence agency said.

Saeed switched allegiance last year from the Taleban to ISIS in Afghanistan.

ISIS figures have been targets for US drone strikes that have killed three other ISIS commanders in the same area in a week, including Shahidullah Shahid and Gul Zaman.

After pushing out the Taleban insurgents, ISIS fighters have in the past two months gained ground in several districts of Nangarhar province, which shares a long and porous border with lawless areas inside Pakistan.

Achin fell to the ISIS militants last month after heavy clashes with the Taleban.