ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has asked the United States to help break the India-Afghanistan nexus against Pakistan for the sake of regional peace, The Nation has learnt.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry said Washington was urged to play its role to defuse Pak-Afghan tension during the recent contacts.

“We know the US has a stake in Afghanistan. They [the US] want peace between us but India is trying to disrupt these efforts. We have asked them to take care of India if they can. New Delhi is obviously pulling their [Afghanistan’s] strings,” an official, who remains in contact with Washington, told The Nation.

He said the US was concerned over the recent firing incident along the Chaman border and appreciated Pakistan’s restraint.

“We told them the nation was furious over the firing from the Afghan side, which left several dead. We obviously do not want the situation to get out of hands,” the official added.

Earlier, Pakistan declared four-kilometre area adjacent to the Chaman border with Afghanistan a “no-go area” amid tensions with the neighbour.

Last week, Afghan forces opened firing on Frontier Corps personnel appointed for security of population census team – killing 10.

The Bab-e-Dosti or the Friendship Gate remained closed on Sunday – the third day running.

Due to the closure of the border, all private activities including the Afghan transit trade and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato)’s supply line were suspended.

Pedestrian movement also remained banned in the no-go area.

To respond to any further aggression by the Afghan forces, Pakistan army was on high alert.

Tanks and heavy artillery were moved forward.

To accommodate the displaced persons, camps were installed five kilometers away from the border.

The authorities said that as many as 2,000 families had been affected by Afghan shelling at the civilian areas.

As the tensions flared up, Defence Minister Khawaja Mohamed Asif warned Pakistan would give a befitting reply to all acts of aggression.

“If our borders are violated and further destruction occurs then those responsible will have to pay the price,” he said last day.

The minister said that New Delhi-Kabul nexus was apparent on the Afghan border.

Another official at the foreign ministry said that the US had assured Pakistan of using its influence to stop Afghanistan from aggravating the situation.

“They understand our point of view. We have tried to convince them that the Pakistani officials were conducting census within their own territory. We have never violated any country’s borders, be it Afghanistan or India,” he maintained.

Over the weekend, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that border between the two countries was clearly demarcated and Pakistani teams were conducting the census drive in their own area.

He asked Afghanistan to stop firing against Pakistani forces.

“In case it does not stop, Pakistan reserves the right to respond to preserve its sovereignty and protect its civilians,” Zakaria had said.

International affairs expert Dr Zahid Anwar Khan said Afghanistan had targeted the citizens, which proved it was a conspiracy.

“They are trying to create instability along the border at the behest of India. They should know it is not in their own interest,” he added.

Khan said that Pakistan must highlight the Chaman incident at international forum.

“It is good to speak to the US also on this violation,” he added.

Defence expert Brigadier Harris Nawaz (retd) said instead of helping Pakistan to defeat terrorism, Afghanistan was increasing problems for Pakistan.

“Afghanistan looks in complete control of India. They should come out of it and join hands with Pakistan to improve the situation. Together we can eliminate terrorism,” he remarked.

Brigadier Nawaz said Pakistan had built 1,150 check-posts on the border with Afghanistan against 50-odd by Kabul.

“This shows our sincerity with stopping infiltration and eventually reducing terrorism. Afghan should cooperate with us,” he said.