Afghanistan's UN envoy 'certain' a pact with US will be signed soon to keep some US troops

Afghanistan's U.N. ambassador says he is "certain" the government will soon sign an agreement with the United States that would allow some U.S. troops to remain behind after the final withdrawal of American soldiers at the end of the year.

Zahir Tanin's statement to the U.N. Security Council on Monday was sharply at odds with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's final address to parliament on Saturday ahead of April 5 presidential elections.

Karzai reiterated he would not sign the agreement and said U.S. soldiers could leave on schedule because his military was ready to take over entirely.

Tanin said the Afghan people demonstrated at a Loya Jirga or grand council in November they "believe in the importance of continuing strategic relations with the United States, NATO and the wider international community."