May 14 (UPI) -- Five civilians were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday by a truck bomb in front of the defense ministry building in the eastern Paktia province city of Gardiz, officials said.
The explosives, on a pickup truck, were detonated in front of a gate just after dawn, said Afghan army spokesman Aimal Mohmand. He added that five security officers were among 19 injured by the blast. Another report put the number of injured at 30.
Afghanistan's defense ministry said a suicide bomber was shot when he set off the bomb.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, in response to a government decision to order security forces to switch from an active defensive posture to offensive mode. Afghan forces had moved into the offensive phase to counter attacks by the militant group.
The explosion was the Talban's first major car bombing in an urban area since it signed a peace deal with U.S. negotiators in February.