ISLAMABAD - The United States has jumped in to stop Pakistan and Afghanistan from going too far as tension between the two Muslim nations escalates, official sources said.

A Pakistani Army officer, Major Ali Jawad, succumbed to his injuries yesterday that he received in the unprovoked Afghan firing the previous day.

The total number of persons injured since the last two days was 14 that included two security personnel.

The firing by Afghanistan forces was intermittently continuing while Pakistan’s Ambassador Abrar Hussain was called to lodge protest. Curfew imposed in Landi Kotal had been lifted but the imposition maintains in several other areas.

Earlier, Afghan Charge d’Affaires was called to the Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lodge protest against the unprovoked shelling that has damaged different houses.

The skirmish began when Pakistan placed a gate at Torkham, in a move to curb the flow of illegal movement along the border.

Pakistan military said that the gate at the Torkham border was being constructed at least 37 metres within the country’s territory.

A senior Foreign Affairs Ministry official told The Nation, the US had contacted Islamabad over the growing tension with Kabul and advised restraint.

“The US said they had also been in touch with Kabul to cool down the atmosphere,” he said.

Another official said that Pakistan had asked the US – also going through a tense phase of bilateral ties with Pakistan- to stop Kabul from violating ceasefire as Pakistan wanted good ties with the Muslim neighbour.

“Pakistan did not start the firing and never intends to escalate tension. We want good ties with all the neighbours. For this tension, Kabul is to be blamed,” he said citing the Washington-Islamabad contact.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan and there was no reason to create tension with the neighbour.

He said that Pakistan would continue to pursue the objective in close consultation with Afghanistan govt and other members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group.

On the fate of QCG following the drone strike that killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour recently, he said it was premature to comment in the peace process at the moment as the situation would become clear after the consultations by the member countries.

He said that Pakistan believed that effective border management was vital for checking the infiltrations across long and porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

On the Pak-Afghan tension, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi said Pakistan fully supported the Ashraf Ghani govt in Afghanistan but there were certain core issues, which required to be addressed including border management.

He said that QCG was formed to address the Afghan issue but the US drone attack had caused negative impacts on this initiative.

Senior analyst Dr Rasul Bux Rais said the Pak-Afghan border was long enough to allow the easy cross-border movement of the militants.

“United States should realise that Pakistan has been badly affected by terrorism and its nation has rendered many sacrifices against this menace. And now, Pakistan is fighting a crucial war against terrorism all alone,” he said.

Rais said that the govt needed to focus on to improve border management. “Pakistan has been digging a deep and long ditch along its porous border with Afghanistan in Balochistan to check the cross-border movement of militants,” he added.

Another analyst Dr Zahid Anwar Khan said certain ups and downs had been witnessed in bilateral relations of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Pakistan is already fighting a crucial and decisive war against the militants. Afghan govt needs to support Pakistan to stop the cross-border movement of the terrorists rather to do unprovoked firing. In order to check movement of terrorists through Torkham, Pakistan is constructing a gate on own its side of the border as a necessity to check unwanted and illegal movement,” he said.

Khan added: “India is also involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan using Afghan land. Pak-Afghan leadership should identify the elements creating hurdles in peace process and should be dealt with iron hands.”