ISLAMABAD  -   The United States has asked Pakistan to placate Afghanistan as tension with the war-torn neighbour would affect the peace process with the Taliban, officials said on Wednesday.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that the US was not happy with the war of words between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Obviously, Afghanistan is making an issue out of non-issue but it (Afghan hue and cry) is definitely creating ripples. The US has asked Pakistan to contact Afghanistan and sort out the matter,” said one official.

Another official said that Pakistan had assured the US that Pakistan would never interfere in the internal matters of Afghanistan. “This is our policy. We are trying to remove the misunderstandings (with Afghanistan),” he added.

This week, Prime Minister Khan proposed an interim setup in Afghanistan as a possible solution to an “impasse” in the ongoing peace process.  Khan said the Afghan government was creating an obstruction on the way of peace talks with the Taliban. The premier also said he had canceled a scheduled meeting with Taliban leaders because of objections by the Afghan government.

The Afghan government has been blaming Pakistan for harbouring key Taliban leaders on its soil and providing them with sanctuaries to stage war against Afghan forces and their foreign counterparts. However, Pakistan has often rejected the allegations and has claimed it was extending support to the Afghan peace process.

The National Unity Government was established based on an agreement between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah in September 2014 after controversial elections. The agreement on the NUG was brokered by former US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said PM Khan’s comments on Afghanistan had been reported out of context in the media, leading to ‘unwarranted reaction’ from various quarters. A foreign office spokesperson said in his comments the PM had referred to Pakistan’s model where elections are held under an interim government. The comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

“Pakistan has no other interest in Afghanistan but to promote peace through an ‘Afghan owned’ and ‘Afghan led’ political process. PM of Pakistan has taken personal interest in facilitating the ongoing political reconciliation process and the same must not be misconstrued to undermine the sincere efforts of Pakistan or to create misunderstandings at this crucial stage of the process,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal.

Earlier, Afghanistan recalled its ambassador to Pakistan over the recent remarks by Prime Minister Imran Khan about the future of power-sharing in the war-battered country. Afghanistan also summoned Pakistan’s deputy ambassador to seek clarification over the PM Khan’s commentary.

Afghan foreign affairs ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi took to Twitter and expressed annoyance at the comments passed by Imran Khan.

US President Donald Trump’s administration and Taliban officials have held talks to end the 17-year war, but the Taliban consider the Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government as illegitimate.

Soon after the comments by Afghan official, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad also took to Twitter and criticized the comments made by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“The future of #Afghanistan is for #Afghans, and only Afghans, to decide. The role of the international community is to encourage Afghans to come together so they can do so,” he tweeted.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan 17 years ago and the war with the Taliban has since killed nearly 150,000 people, including Afghan civilians, security forces, insurgents and more than 2,400 American soldiers, according to an American University study released recently.

The longest war effort in US history has also cost Washington nearly one trillion dollars and all the parties central to the war are now dropping hints to end the conflict.