The war in Afghanistan has extended for 17 long years. Action against the Taliban has involved generations of US officials, who immediately become a modern conflict and a historic one. Among the best ways to learn about the war is through Slitherine’s renowned strategy game Afghanistan 11 .
Unfortunately, Apple has chosen to remove this title from the App Store. In an email sent to Slitherine, the software and hardware shouted the giant game to show “a specific government or other real enemy unit.” The game was abolished the same day.
Apple’s decision, coming more than a year after the game went for sale for iOS devices, came as a shock to its publishers.
“Historical rigor is a key to Slitherine and Matrix Games DNA,” wrote Paulo Paglianti, Slitherine’s global PR manager, in a mail to polygon. “We never portrayed an” enemy “of its origin [ethnic]. Our [games] is based on history and we always try to show realistic historical situations.”
Making the decision even more inconvenient is the fact that the game is not aimed to destroy enemy forces without strategically supporting Afghan civilians. Here is Paglianti:
Afghanistan  is probably the only wargame ever produced where killing the enemy is not the main focus of the game. The real goal of the player is to charm and help the civilian population in Afghanistan, convince local leaders to support the US military and reject the Taliban rulers. In fact, the countdown engine works exactly like in real-life “Hearts and Minds” military strategy: killing the enemy takes you nowhere, while building water resources or dismantling mining fields, is the way to “win” every scenario and entire campaign. In fact, the main purpose of the campaign is to build a strong and independent Afghanistan government and leave the country with your entire army.
Polygon has come to Apple for comments.
This is not the first time Apple has chosen to remove historical wargames from its business front. In 2015, the company chose to cancel the sale of civil war games with the battle flag in the federal states. Titles like Ultimate General: Gettysburg finally resumed.
It is also unclear why Apple chose to play a game with US forces and the Taliban. Other historical wargames with real combatants still on the App Store include:
Afghanistan 11 is still available for other platforms, including Windows PC via Steam.