Afghanistan's booming car sales industry has been thrown into chaos by a growing aversion to the number 39, which almost overnight has become an unlikely synonym for pimp and a mark of shame in this deeply conservative country.
Drivers of cars with number plates containing 39, bought before the once-harmless double digits took on their new meaning, are mocked and taunted across Kabul.
''Now even little kids say 'look, there goes the 39'. This car is a bad luck, I can't take my family out in it,'' said Mohammad Ashraf who works for a United Nations project.
Other ''39'' owners flew into a rage or refused to speak when asked whether their car was a burden.