Many grieving relatives were incensed that the government had minimized the sacrifices of the victims, ordering officials to stay quiet or hide the extent of the fatalities, which have dribbled out over the past three days.
The government is highly sensitive to the casualty count in the military and has sought to suppress information about such figures.
But it is widely known that at least 6,700 of Afghanistan’s roughly 320,000-member security forces were killed last year and more than 12,000 were wounded, a record.
At least 160 are believed to have been killed on Friday at the sprawling base, Camp Shaheen, northern Afghanistan’s largest army installation. Most were not seasoned soldiers and were just going through basic training.
Unlike many other Taliban attacks against the military, where the targets have been commanders, police officers, bodyguards and sentries, the Camp Shaheen victims never even got the chance to fight.
As scores of coffins were distributed to families outside the base over the weekend for transport home by car, taxi, van and truck, traffic turned into a hodgepodge of makeshift hearses. Many other bodies were ferried by army helicopters to other provinces for relatives to retrieve.
Officials who had visited the base’s morgue said only a dozen or so bodies remained unclaimed.
Most were badly burned by the explosive vests some of the attackers had detonated inside the base.
On Saturday, hundreds of families gathered outside the base, many demanding to be let in, but were stopped at the same checkpoint that the 10 Taliban assailants masquerading in military uniforms had comfortably made their way through.
The assailants entered the base in two trucks, then opened fire on as many as 3,000 unarmed soldiers emerging from the base mosque as Friday prayers ended. Some of the attackers blew themselves up, and it took five hours for commandos to kill the rest.
New details have since emerged about the cunning of the plot.
One assailant had pretended to be a wounded soldier, replete with an intravenous drip bottle attached to his arm, officials said, as the trucks passed through seven checkpoints toward the base.
The base remained sealed off to outsiders on Sunday. But officials who had visited, speaking privately, said the bodies of seven Taliban attackers still remained scattered outside the mosque.
Two officials said the attackers had red cloth tied on their arms, which they apparently had used to distinguish one another from the hundreds of military men they had come to kill.
One assailant had even dropped his gun and pretended to be an officer ushering panicked recruits into the apparent safety of the dining facility, one of the officials said. Many were shot to death inside with nowhere to escape.
On Sunday, the closest checkpoint to the army base was quiet. Pedestrians went about their business, and children rode past it on their bicycles. Exhausted-looking soldiers checked vehicles and searched those allowed to proceed. Many said they had been told to strictly not speak to the news media, and when the Afghan president visited the army base on Saturday, he held his meetings in small groups to make sure details did not leak.
Haji Hazrat Qul, in his 60s, waited in the shade for the body of his cousin, 22-year-old Ansar ul Haq. The young man had graduated top of his class in Jowzjan Province, and after finding no other employment, had joined army training about six months ago.
Mr. Qul waited outside with a taxi while Mr. Haq’s younger brother went in to identify and pick up the body. About three hours later, the younger brother called Mr. Qul to say the government would not allow the body to travel by road, because the road to their home district in Jowzjan was contested by the Taliban.
“They will bring the body by helicopter,” Mr. Qul said, apologizing to the taxi driver he had kept waiting.