Military strategy title Afghanistan ’11 has been pulled from the iOS App Store due to its inclusion of the Taliban as an enemy faction.
This violates Apple’s long-standing policy that such titles should not feature “people from a specific government or other real entity as the enemies” — a ruling that has affected a handful of other titles over the years.
The game’s removal was revealed on Twitter by Iain McNeil, development director at the game’s creator Slitherine, and spotted by Kotaku. McNeil lamented the move, adding “… and people wonder why we don’t do iOS anymore.”
Responding to queries via Twitter, McNeil said the company has lodged a complaint with Apple — as have some of the games fans — and said the team “hope Apple change their minds and let the game back in the store.”
However, given the Apple has been pulling similar titles under this ruling for close to a decade now, this remains unlikely. The mobile platform holder has previously removed Pacific Strike for featuring Japanese flags, and a US Civil War game Ultimate General: Gettysburg for featuring Confederate flags.
Naturally, developers have tried defending these titles on the grounds of historical accuracy and emphasised that titles aren’t necessarily vilifying enemies’ real-world counterparts.
When one Twitter user asked McNeil whether Slitherine would have made a game based on ISIS, but the development director responded that the point of Afghanistan ’11 has been “to win hearts and minds, not kill insurgents.”
“You win by developing infrastructure like schools then withdrawing and leaving the Afghans in charge,” he wrote.