The bombing, which struck Kabul's diplomatic quarter during rush hour on Wednesday morning, came just a few days into Ramadan, a time when Muslim families come together to observe the holy month.
Instead, relatives were burying the dead and tending the wounds of the 461 confirmed injured.
Most of the wounded were taken to the city's three major hospitals, where emergency wards remain packed with those caught up in the massive blast. As doctors worked around the clock, hospitals sent out urgent calls for more blood to treat many with critical injuries.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which saw a waste water truck crammed with explosives detonated in one of the busiest streets in the city.
By Thursday morning, Afghan security forces had cordoned off streets hundreds of meters from the site, and workers were busy filling in the crater left by the blast, as large trucks loaded with barrels of tar drove into the area. Meanwhile, traffic around the secure zone had returned to its usual, snarled state.
Around the blast site, damaged structures could be seen with their windows blown out, and even concrete blast walls had been sent tumbling by the powerful explosion. An Afghan official on the scene told CNN that German and American forensics teams were at the scene gathering evidence.
Near a security checkpoint, about 40 protesters chanted anti-ISIS slogans and called for "death" to the Taliban.
Protest organizer Kanishka Nasiry showed CNN a baby's shoe that he said he found on the street by the blast site. He lamented that the world pays less attention to what happens in Afghanistan than elsewhere, even though innocent civilians die here too.
Afghans point finger at Pakistan
Afghanistan's intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, issued a statement attributing blame to the Haqqani Network, a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan. It alleged the group had received help from ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service.
However, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria rejected what he called "baseless allegations," saying the "accusatory approach is unhelpful towards efforts for peace."
Zakaria insisted that "Pakistan has highest stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan," and said it was "disappointing that some elements, who have no interest in peace in Afghanistan and want to damage Afghan-Pakistan relations, have been maligning Pakistan for their own agenda."
The Haqqani Network has not responded to the accusation from Afghanistan's intelligence service, nor claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Taliban have denied responsibility for the blast, and ISIS has remained silent on the issue.
As the nation grieved, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani extended his "deepest condolences" in a live televised address. "It was a brutal act which has caused our countrymen grief during the holy month of Ramadan," he said.
Reporting from Kabul on Thursday, CNN's Muhammad Lila said people were angry that so much money was spent by so many countries to safeguard Afghanistan's security and yet the attack still couldn't be stopped.
"The fact that this can happen in the country's capital, that a truck filled with so many explosives could just drive up and detonate. There's a lot of anger right now directed at officials," he said.
CNN Security Analyst Rick Francona said it was "not surprising" that the Haqqani Network was being blamed, having previously demonstrated its ability to carry out attacks of similar scale.
"What is surprising is the ability to get this far into a secured area. They didn't quite reach the gates of the green zone, but they got very close," said Francona.
"Not just the US, NATO has put billions of dollars into training and reorganizing the Afghan army ... I think we're seeing the results of the failure of that effort."
Afghanistan's ambassador to the UK, Said Tayeb Jawad, told CNN's Clarissa Ward that the country's security agencies had intercepted "many similar attacks," including one a few days ago.
"The indications are that (Wednesday's attack) was carried out by terrorists outside Afghanistan. Definitely the logistical work that is needed is not possible unless they get the financial and logistical support in Pakistan," Jawad said.
"We are trying to do everything possible to reach out to Pakistan to make them understand that supporting terrorist groups is not going to benefit Afghanistan or Pakistan. So far our effort has not been fruitful," he added.
CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson said the Haqqani Network, which operates across a lawless area extending from near Khost in southeastern Afghanistan into Pakistan, is widely understood to be funded by ISI, although Pakistan denies this.
The network is ostensibly part of the Afghan Taliban but was the only group that didn't pledge full allegiance to late Taliban leader Mullah Omar, he said. It's the most militant part of the Taliban although its interests are not so much ideological as financial, such as smuggling across the border, or concerned with maintaining power.
Some of the biggest attacks in the past have been the work of the group, now headed by a second generation of jihadi leaders from the Haqqani family, he said.
Embassies, companies hit
Wednesday's devastating explosion happened close to Western embassies, government institutions and various residencies of high-ranking officials.
Eleven US citizens, assigned to the US Embassy as contractors, were injured
in the explosion while at Camp Eggers, a US facility across the street from the German Embassy. Nine Afghan security personnel working for the United States were killed.
The BBC said driver Mohammed Nazir had died in the blast. Four BBC journalists were injured, but their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening, according to a BBC World Service statement.
TOLO news employee Aziz Navin, 22, was killed on his way to work, the news agency reported
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the bombing was in the "immediate vicinity" of its embassy. The French and Canadian embassies were also damaged in the attack, as were the offices of broadcaster 1TV Afghanistan.