Developer Slitherine’s strategy game Afghanistan ’11 has been pulled from the iOS App Store, a rejection that comes more than a year after the game first launched on the platform.
The reason for the sudden pull, as explained to the dev in an email from Apple, is that the game features “people from specific government or other real entity as the enemies.”
Afghanistan ’11 is, as the name would suggest, is a strategy game based on actions taken by the United States in Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. That subject matter naturally includes conflicts between the US forces occupying the country and the Taliban, though Slitherine tells Polygon that the game is more about building infrastructure and offering support to Afghan civilians than outright combat against the Taliban.
“Historical rigor is a fundamental key of Slitherine and Matrix Games DNA,” a representative from Slitherine told Polygon. “We never portrayed an ‘enemy’ for its [ethnic] origin. Our [games] are based on history and we always try and depict realistic historical situations.”
Apple has, in the past, taken similar sudden actions against games based on historical events. In 2015, the company removed Ultimate General: Gettysburg and several other games from the App Store over in-game use of the Confederate flag, though that particular decision was eventually reversed.