Cars are parked at a car selling lot in Kabul
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 REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The number “39” has been troubling many car owners as it is a synonym for pimp in the Afghan community.

Afghanistan’s growing car sales industry has been thrown into chaos where the car owners with number plates consisting the odd double-digit number are being mocked and ridiculed by people.

No one is sure as to why the number has taken such a beating, but rumors in Kabul blame a pimp in Iran whose flashy car has a 39 in its number plate, a Reuters report said.

Car dealers across Kabul said stocks valued thousands of dollars are getting piled up in their yards, which include cars in their prime conditions. They have, mainly remained unsold due to their number plates which have the figure 39 in them.

Other car owners with 39 in their number plates are unable to sell their cars even at cheap prices.

The head of the union of car dealers in Kabul, Najibullah Amiri, blames the local police officers for spreading the rumor.

Amiri alleges that officials at the police department charge buyers between $200 and $500 to change a 39 number plate for a new car to something different and that it is a deliberate scheme by the police to earn more money from the buyers.