July 13, 2007 / 12:09 AM / 12 years ago

Deadly virus phone rumours frighten Afghans

KABUL (Reuters) - Rumours swept through Afghanistan on Monday that a deadly virus was being spread by mobile telephone calls, and government officials scrambled to reassure the public the talk was rubbish.

Many worried Afghan mobile phone users called family and friends, warning them not to answer calls from strange numbers. Some people said they had heard that several people had been killed by the mystery virus in Kabul at the weekend.

“Don’t answer any strange number because it contains a virus that will kill you,” said Ahmad Fawad, a shop owner in Kabul.

The rumours appear to have spread from neighbouring Pakistan where last week a similar scare frightened countless mobile phone users.

Officials from the Afghan interior, communications and health ministries appeared on television and said the talk was baseless.

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