Pul-I-Alam (Afghanistan): A powerful suicide truck bomb exploded near the entrance to a NATO base on Friday injuring as many as 70 people, mainly civilians, south of the Afghan capital Kabul, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Muhammad Agha district of Logar province which took place at around 8:00am (0330 GMT) on Friday.

Logar's health director, Mohammad Zarif Nayebkhail, said that up to 70 people were taken to hospital with injuries from shrapnel or flying glass.

"Up to 70 wounded have been taken to the main hospital in the district -- seven of them are (Afghan) security guards of NATO, the rest are civilians," he said. "Several of the wounded were in a serious condition."

Logar's deputy police chief Mohammad Abed described the blast as "huge."

"The suicide attacker wanted to ram his explosive-laden vehicle into the coalition forces base but he was stopped at the gate and detonated the truck outside the base," he said.

He put the provisional toll of those injured at five -- three police and two NDS (Afghan intelligence) personnel -- adding that some houses had been destroyed by the blast.

A spokesman for NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed a car bombing in the district but said they were still "gathering information".

He could not confirm that ISAF was the target or the number of casualties.

(Agencies)