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Islamic State Names Leader In Pakistan, Afghanistan

An image made released by the Islamic State (IS) on January 27 purportedly showing Hafiz Said Khan (C) head of the IS branch in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Islamic State (IS) militant group says it has appointed a former Pakistani Taliban commander as its leader for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, a spokesman for the group, said in an audio message posted on Twitter this week that Hafiz Saeed Khan would lead IS militants in the region.

Khan, reportedly in his early 40s, was once a spokesman for Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella organization for several militant groups.

The authenticity of the audio file could not be verified by independent sources.

The development came weeks after several Pakistani Taliban leaders pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It also came amid reports that a former Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Rauf was recruiting for the IS in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

Based on reporting by dp