back to article Afghan elders refuse to be labelled pimps by number 39

Plans to extend the London 39 bus route from Putney Bridge Station to Kabul are reportedly on hold after the number of shame caused a bit of a rumpus at a gathering of Afghan elders. President Hamid Karzai convened the "loya jirga" to chew the fat over US-Afghan relations, but made the mistake of dividing the shindig into 40 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Fark would say:

    "Having solved all other problems in Afghanistan ... "

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame they don't have the same aversion to farming Opium poppies, or tolerance for educating little girls, or other such little niceties.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There are only 3 treatments for people suffering from such levels of institutionalised paranoia:

    1. Prescription of Marijuana

    2. Indoctrination into rave culture

    3. Pre frontal lobotomy

    These individuals sadly seem to belong to the third category.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A marijuana prescription will not help much with paranoia unless

      1) You need an excuse for a pre-existing paranoid condition


      2) You want to practice and get good at it.

      I'll stop being paranoid when they stop being out to get me.

  4. Christoph

    Keeping up with the yanks

    Reminiscent of the large number of people in the US who go into hysterics at anything resembling the number 666.

    1. An ominous cow herd

      Or beeing on the 13th floor... most of them go from 12 to 14!

      1. asiaseen

        In Hong Kong, 4 is a no-no number so many lifts go from 13 to 15 - and miss out the 40s altogther

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Also in Hong Kong...

          Numbering of the blocks in this housing estate:


          go 13, 13A, 15; and, further to the right of this location, 23, 23A, 25.

          Now all we need is a treatise on, "Politically-correct mathematics in mixed-culture situations" and we're totally doomed.

  5. Geoff Campbell

    You stupid, stupid fuckers.

    Get over yourselves, grow up, and start acting like adults.


    1. Goat Jam


      I do hope you are not an American lest my Irony Meter burn out.

      [. . . . . /]



      Party on the 13th floor anyone?

  6. Seanmon

    Err, what?

    I understand this is written in English and I can read each individual word, but this story as a whole makes absolutely no flibble to me.

    Must be Friday.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have to get on that bus twice a day every day, will the timetable be affected?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    A Wonderful Country To Die For least the MIC benefits from that.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ..just miss out 39, in the same way many American buildings don't have 13th floor.

    No big deal.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      In China, either the character for or the pronunciation of (I forget which) the number '4' is closely similar to that for 'death'. This means that in very tall buildings, there is no 4,14,24,34, and one up from floor 39 is floor 50.

    2. Ty Cobb

      Yup - one of the stupidest superstitions in my country. Nation started by 13 colonies, check. 13 stripes on flag representing said colonies, check. 13 arrows in eagles claw on coins, seals, etc representing said colonies, check. 13th floor? OMFG! The end is nigh!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Totally agree.

        And thank God Friday the 13th fell on a Sunday this month. Happy to have lived through another month.

    3. Dana W

      The newest building I know with no 13th floor was built over 40 years ago. I think we are over that silliness. Though sadly we have new ones to replace it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    7, 8, 13, 171, 419...

    7 is a "lucky" number that most know. However breaking a mirror will give you this number of years in bad luck.

    8 is lucky when it concerns Chinese...

    Friday the 13th was the day that the last Leader of the Knights Templar, Jacques Demolay, was immolated. He cursed the Pope and the King that caused his demise to die in 1 year time. They did.

    24 is related to... non-heterosexual. Can't find the source of it.

    171 is the Law on Brasil regarding scammers. There is some folklore regarding the number, but not to point of jinx-level.

    419 is the same regarding some other country, so I heard?

    Can we call it the Folklore-Fibonacci sequence?

    1. Rafael 1

      24 is....

      ... associated with homosexuality, but as far as I know only in Brazil.

      I know why but 1) it is Friday; 2) it is a silly story and 3) I am too lazy to tell.

    2. Daniel B.

      41... *chuckle*

      41 is related to homosexuality in Mexico. Wonder if any Mexicans are in that route? ;)

  11. FrankAlphaXII

    Sounds like Afghanistan sure enough

    Those people really, really piss me off over stuff like this. Its really aggravating to have been a part of the war in that country and see that they're spending time worrying about the number 39 on their license plates (yes I'm a Merkin, we call them that here) instead of worrying about what really matters there really torks me off.

    They worry endlessly about stupid little bullshit like this (and some even worse examples that the press has never covered which amazes me, especially since most of the examples of Afghan government idiocy are in Helmand and the British Forces pretty much run that Province, your legendary newspapers thankfully found this one) instead of worrying about things that actually matter, like the fact that more than 5/6ths of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police are completely illiterate and we generally have to teach them to read and write before they start their basic training. They ignore it and could care less.

    And thats just the ANA, the ANP are god awful too and they have to be trained to be functionally literate because they have to write arrest reports and such. On the ANA side, only their NCOs and Officers have to be literate. At least from what I understand their Air Force at Bagram is fully literate. But yes it really is that bad. I am not exaggerating at all. I couldnt fucking believe it, considering when the Soviets ran the country, literacy was around 60% or so.

    I went to Afghanistan with Operation Enduring Freedom in 2007-2008 with a Military Intelligence Brigade from Texas and it just amazed me that the people running the country worry about pissants like this dumb license plate bullshit, while very deadly things such as the Taliban are quite ready and willing to destroy them.

    1. ian 22

      Silly buggers

      Everyone knows the number to avoid is 69.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can accept the license plate thing, but it's time for an anti-americanism rant!

      'Could' care less... you care enough about it that it's possible for you to care less about it that you do right now? What a completely pointless statement, it says the complete opposite of what you actually mean! It basically says you could care about it a bit, or it could be the most important thing in your world, or anywhere in between. Not caring at all being eliminated as a possibility by the statement that you could, in fact, care less.

      It's couldn't care less! It's snappy, convenient, to the point... get it right!

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Could care less is an American Idiom that means we simply do not care. And no, I refuse to use a British Idiom that means the same thing. In 1775 we quite rightly threw you out, and at that point our languages diverged. Not my issue, my ancestors helped throw your Government out. That we're better off for doing so is arguable, but what is not is that our languages diverged. Would you attack a South African or Jamaican for using their idioms? No, you disagree with my politics, which I believe you assume to be on the right (and you would be wrong), so you anonymously attack me based on linguistic idiom.

        So to enlighten you about our use of the English language in the United States I will offer an example: "I could care less that you're a cowardly pantywaist, who will not use your actual username to attack my correct use of the variant of language, being American English, instead of actually offering a counterpoint that I could argue". There.

        I could say it in our other semi-official language, Latin American Spanish if you'd like.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >They worry endlessly about stupid little bullshit like this

      Enlighten me. Is it stil illegal for US citizens to buy Cuban cigars no matter where they are in the world or even smoke one?

      It seems some things are really important to some people whist totally incomprehensible to others. At least the dislike of number 39 is a personal piece of mindless bullshit and not one imposed by their Government.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        I didnt say we don't do stupid little bullshit ourselves. Nowhere did I say that, so please don't jump to conclusions. Dude, I was in the ARMY. The KING of Bullshit. And now I fight the US Department of Veterans Affairs, a Department thats even worse in regard to bullshit, I forgot to sign a form about a year ago. I had to start over my application for benefits I EARNED, benefits I bled for in that hell hole Afghanistan, benefits I watched my friends die for, just to have some jackass bureaucrat that never fired a shot in his life nor took incoming fire nor watched anyone die in a very horrific manner tell me I had to start all over and wait another year just for very basic Medical care and my Educational benefits that I was supposed to get.

        Anyway, to my main point (sorry Sir, I get angry about the VA, as I well should) In my state they will try you for treason against the state for simply visiting Cuba. Even the US Federal Government won't do that unless you spend money in Cuba itsself. Stupid isnt it?

        I would lose my security clearance and face up to 20 years in a Florida prison for visiting a place located less than 180 miles from where I live. As far as smoking a cuban cigar outside of the US, Im not sure if its illegal for an American to do so in a third country. (Ive done it actually. And it was one of the best Cigars Ive ever had).

        As you can tell, I don't agree with the embargo, and in this case, it doesn't make any sense. I had a very close friend of my family have to smuggle something as basic as insulin through the mail to try to keep their grandmother alive. The laws against Cuba serve a minority, a very well armed and vocal minority that is stuck in the Cold War, but they do not serve anyone but them.

        Do I agree with the Embargo? No. I believe that particular law exists to protect the interests of the Cuban Exile sugar farmers in South Florida as Cuban sugar is much cheaper.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I was in the girl guides

          Oh wait, I'm just fantasising again.

          >I had a very close friend of my family have to smuggle something as basic as insulin through the mail to try to keep their grandmother alive.

          I find this hard to believe. Cuba has some of the best medical care in the world with an average life expectancy greater than that of America, they are at the forefront of cancer research and as they have an excess of doctors many go overseas where aid is required, unless the host country refuses the offer, hint, hurricane Katrina. Cuba also trains a fair number of American medical students for free.

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  13. Nick Galloway


    Why not use a combination of alphabet and numbers to label each group A1 - A9, B1 - B9 and so on to avoid the problem. Alternately label all of them 39-1, 39-2, 39-3 ... and they can all be smeared with the taint of assisting men meeting with women in intimate environments!?

    I think Afghanistan has a few more significant issues and is it possible those chosen for group 39 were carefully selected!?

  14. alwarming

    Its time for western folk to lift our "burden", again.

    Our fellow men would never do something so stooopid...( Hatred for 666 or 13 have some geniune cultural reasons after all). And after all what's wrong with being called a pimp anyway ? Don't those Afghans over-decorate their cows and worship them ? (Or.. err was that Hindus?). Whatever. Anyway, those unwashed, uneducated folks need to educated in western ways. They should not waste time hating harmless stuff like pimping... which is not a major crime in west anyway. Some Hollywood pimps are celebrities, even. Learn, Afghans, learn from us. (superiorly yours).


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