Curse of 39 strikes Afghan elders meeting

Curse of 39 strikes Afghan elders meeting

A major meeting of Afghan elders discussing the country’s long-term relationship with the US has been hit by a strange superstition surrounding the number 39.



By (AFP)

Published: Thu 17 Nov 2011, 12:56 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:17 AM

KABUL — A major meeting of Afghan elders discussing the country’s long-term relationship with the United States has been hit by a strange superstition surrounding the number 39, officials confirmed on Thursday.

Some 2,000 elders at the Loya Jirga, now into a second day, have divided themselves up into 40 committees to debate the presence of US troops in Afghanistan Afghan elders after 2014, when NATO combat forces are meant to leave.

But the members of committee 39 refuse to acknowledge the number because of an urban myth which associates it with pimps.

The curse of 39 means that Afghans with the number on their vehicle licence plate or in their mobile phone number face being teased or even ostracised.

Cars with the number 39 frequently cost far less than other vehicles because of the bizarre association, thought to be linked to a well-known pimp in the western city of Herat who had the number on his registration plate.

“In Afghanistan, the number 39 has a very strange meaning which it is not fair for me to tell you,” Loya Jirga spokeswoman Safia Sediqi to said

“Even here we have the same problem. The participants divided into 40 committees but committee 39 did not accept this number for themselves so we decided to remove this number.

“Now it is 41 but in reality, there are 40 committees.”

The four-day Loya Jirga got under way Wednesday with President Hamid Karzai outlining conditions for a long-term US troop presence including an end to night raids and respect for Afghan national sovereignty.

Two rockets were fired into Kabul early Thursday, with one landing close to the venue of the Jirga although the day’s proceedings had not yet got under way. One person was injured in the rocket strikes, officials said.


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