A large explosion has been heard in the Afghan capital as the international military coalition hands over security responsibility to the nascent national army and police.

Kabul deputy police chief Mohammad Daoud Amin says Tuesday's blast was near the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in the Pul-e-Surkh area of the western part of the city. No further details were available.

The Taliban insurgency has been pressing an intense campaign of violence in the run-up to Tuesday's security handover, attended by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The transition is a major milestone of the 12-year-old war, with the coalition insisting Afghan security forces it has been training for years are now strong enough to take the lead in the fight against the Taliban.