ISLAMABAD Desperate to win hearts and minds in Pakistan, the US has begun pushing aid organisations working in the countrys most dangerous region along the Afghan border to advertise that they receive American assistance. The new requirement has disturbed aid groups, which fear their workers providing food, water, shelter and other basic needs to Pakistanis will come under militant attack if they proclaim their US connection. This fear exists throughout Pakistan but is especially acute in the tribal region, which is the main sanctuary for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in the country. But US officials in Pakistan are under increasing pressure from Washington to increase the visibility of the countrys aid effort to counter rampant anti-American sentiment that can feed support for militants targeting the West. The focus on branding has become even more intense in the wake of the US Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town on May 2. The covert operation infuriated Pakistanis and strained the relationship so much that the US decided to suspend $800 million in military aid to Pakistan. The decision does not affect civilian aid and makes the effort to win hearts and minds through that assistance even more important. Our mandate is to make sure people here know that they are receiving American assistance, said one US official in Pakistan. Its always a struggle, especially in a country like this with security considerations. Militants have targeted aid groups in the past. The Taliban killed five UN staffers in a suicide attack in 2009 at the office of the World Food Programme in Islamabad. In 2010, militants attacked World Vision, a US-based Christian aid group helping survivors from the 2005 earthquake in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing six Pakistani employees. Eleven prominent charities signed a letter last fall asking the US Agency for International Development not to require aid in Pakistan to be branded with the groups red, white and blue logo. The letter was sent by InterAction, an alliance of U.S.-based NGOs. The international humanitarian aid group CARE turned down American funding to help people in south Punjab cope with last years devastating floods because of the US governments branding requirements, the organisation said. Not only does the US require many NGOs to brand their projects with a logo that says USAID: From the American People, but US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter decided a few months ago to add the American flag as well to make sure illiterate Pakistanis would know the aid came from the US, said US officials. Examples of projects in dangerous areas that were branded in this manner include a dam in the South Waziristan tribal area, a teachers college in the Khyber tribal area and 150 schools in the Malakand area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said US officials. All three areas experience frequent Taliban attacks.