(CNN) Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday said the death toll from Tuesday's fatal suicide bomb blast in the country's northeast increased to 41 and a forensic investigation was already underway. Of those killed in the blast, 35 were civilians and six others were members of Afghanistan's parliament, the president said. They were visiting a sugar factory in northeastern Afghanistan's Baghlan province.
Meanwhile, other reports from the region said as many as 100 people were killed or wounded in the blast, and the numbers were expected to rise.
"We are investigating this very unfortunate incident," Karzai told reporters at a Wednesday news conference.
The hospital chief in that province told CNN the blast went off as school children lined the route where as many as 18 national lawmakers and dozens of other local dignitaries walked on their way to visit a sugar plant as part of an economic assistance plan for the northeastern province.
Karzai has declared three days of mourning during which all Afghan flags worldwide will be lowered to half-staff in light of what he called a "heinous act of terrorism."
When asked whether the government was reaching out to communicate with the Taliban's fugitive chief Mullah Mohammad Omar, Karzai said no.
"We are not trying to reach out to Mullah Omar," he said. "We are trying to reach out to those Afghans who for one reason or another have been forced to leave the country. We are trying to reach those Afghans who are not part of Al Qaeda or terrorist networks who want to come back to Afghanistan and live peacefully."
Karzai condemned the attack in a statement issued Tuesday by his spokesman.
Among the lawmakers listed as dead in Karzai's statement is Mustafa Kazemi, the former commerce minister and spokesman for the opposition, who is also a top warlord in the region. The statement also said that the other lawmakers killed included Abdul Mateen, Alhaj Sahibur Rahman, Hajji Muhammad Aref Zarif and Sebghatullah Zaki.
In Washington, the White House has issued condemnation of the attack, with U.S. President George W. Bush expressing his sorrow "for the grieving families of the victims."
In a statement issued Tuesday, Bush described the attack as a "despicable act of cowardice" that "reminds us who the enemy is -- extremists with evil in their hearts who target innocent Muslim men, women and children."
The statement said the Bush administration is committed to "working with the government of Afghanistan" and NATO allies "to fight the terrorists who use murder to advance their hateful ideology."
Meanwhile in the south, Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay survived a Taliban rocket attack while visiting troops at a Canadian military outpost in Kandahar province Tuesday morning.
The loud boom of a rocket blast was audible during MacKay's military briefing to troops in the forward operating base, but he escaped unharmed.