The war in Afghanistan has extended for 17 long years. Action against the Taliban has embraced generations of American officials, and at the same time becomes a modern conflict and a historic one. One of the best ways to learn about the war is through Slitherine's renowned strategy game Afghanistan .
Unfortunately, Apple has chosen to remove the title from the App Store. In an email sent to Slitherine, the software and hardware giant called out the game to portray "a particular government or other real device like enemies." The game was canceled the same day.
Apple's decision, coming more than a year after the game went on sale for iOS devices, came as a shock to its publishers.
"Historical rigor is a fundamental key for Slitherine and Matrix Games DNA," wrote Paulo Paglianti, Slitherine's global PR leader, in an email to the polygon. "We have never portrayed an enemy for its origin [ethnic]. Our [games] is based on history, and we always try to portray realistic historical situations."
Making the decision even more inconsistent is that the purpose of the game is not to destroy enemy forces, but to strategically support Afghan civilians. Here is Paglianti:
Afghanistan 11 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, persuading local leaders to support the US military and reject the rulers of the Taliban. In fact, the counter-revolver engine works just like in reality's military strategy "Hearts and Minds" to kill the enemy taking you nowhere, while building water resources or dismantling minefields is the way to "win" every scenario and entire campaign. In fact, the campaign's main goal is to build a strong and independent Afghan government and leave the country with all your army.
Polygon has come out to Apple for comment.
This is not the first time Apple has chosen to remove historical wargames from the store front. By 2015, the company chose to suspend the sale of civil war games with the battle flag to the Confederate United States. Titles like Ultimate General: Gettysburg were eventually restored.
It is also unclear why Apple chose to designate 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.