Taliban fighters
Watch Afghan Crowds Rush To Enter Passport Office Reopened By Taliban Marcus Yam/Getty Images

The United States is said to be "actively working" to release an American citizen who the Taliban detained in Afghanistan in December, stated by the national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday.

"This individual went to Afghanistan after the US drawdown had been completed," Sullivan told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "I'm not going to get into the sensitivity of it, but I can assure you that it is being handled at the highest levels of our government."

There are reportedly at least eight Westerners who have been held by the Taliban, including six British citizens, one of whom is an American legal resident, and one US citizen, according to reliable sources with direct knowledge of Afghanistan matters. The reason for the detention remains unclear and they are also not thought to be related.

The former vice president of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, named the hostages, journalists Andrew North, formerly of the BBC who was in the country working for the United Nations, and Peter Jouvenal, who has worked with the BBC and CNN. Both of them are British citizens.

The US National Security Council spokesperson, Emily Horne, believed that the detentions were "unacceptable." She also said that the US has been in contact with the Taliban as it urges the group to release the Westerners.

"It's completely unacceptable for the Taliban to hold hostage human beings, and completely antithetical to their purported aspiration to be viewed as a legitimate actor on the world stage," Horne said. "Through direct and indirect communications with the Taliban, we have urged the release of any and all individuals who are unjustly being held by the Taliban and their proxies. Due to privacy, safety, and operational concerns, we have no further comment at this time."

In a Washington Post report, senior White House and State Department officials stated to resist the military's efforts to prepare for the Afghanistan withdrawal. However, President Joe Biden and Sullivan rejected reports that the administration ignored warnings to evacuate America's Embassy in Kabul in the final days of the US war in Afghanistan.

"As soon as, the minute our military leaders and diplomats recommended to the President that he do so, literally that minute, he ordered the evacuation," Sullivan said on CBS' "Face The Nation." According to Sullivan, the president and the administration also prioritize and actively engaged in Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed's process to freedom, both currently detained in Russia.

taliban patrollers
A former Bronx Uber driver who was busted for allegedly trying to join the Taliban has been labeled as merely a "wannabe playboy" by his own defense attorney at his opening trial on Wednesday, Sept. 29. This is a representational image. Getty Images

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