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Digits That Are to be Avoided in Afghanistan

Updated on June 21, 2011

I suppose all societies have them. Some sort of odd thing or number that like a code for those in the know, means something. Usually it is bad or is code like texting acronyms that makes you decipher them.

Even America had one in the 60s-70s, which is still around, 69. Depending on who you talked to, it meant a specific sexual oral orientation with your partner. Well, Afghanistan is no different. Their number is 39. This is the symbol code for whore and prostitute. I suppose the back side of the 3 is the rear and end of the 9, well..... Even if the 39 appears in a series of other digits, such as, license plates, drivers license, the stigma attached to the person who owns it is negative. If you are a guy, you must be a pimp, if a woman, a whore. Afghans with this number will be teased and taunted by strangers and friends alike. Worse, is if you are an Afghan with a cell number with 39 in it. Many will not accept calls with it in it. Owners switch phone numbers. On the funny level, if you are 39 in Afghanistan, that person will tend to to say "one less than 40, or one more than 38". Afghans trying to call Italy find it most difficult because the country code for it is 39. Most odd is the fact that in the divine Koran or Quran there are many verses with 39 in them. Hmmm, what does this tell us about Islam?

The myth according to some was started by Iran, maybe that in itself is a myth as well. This is not so, for the curse of 39 has been around since ancient times in the Kabul area. Thus, it is an urban legend and one that really has not spread much outside of Kabul. Car dealers trying to sell a car with 39 on the plate in the city frequently take the car and sell it in other towns to avoid taking a loss. Because of the myth, even the Afghan DMV has signs telling motorists that the number 39 is simply a number and not a curse.

So far, it hasn't worked. Go figure, Afghanistan.


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    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      I thought it was too. Thanks again.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      I thought it was pretty funny.

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Interesting hub. You learn something new every day. Thanks for the 39 horror in Afghanistan.