The role of additive noble gases He, Ar and Xe to Cl2-based Inductively Coupled Plasmas for etching of GaN, AlN and InN were examined. The etch rates were a strong function of chlorine concentration, rf chuck power and ICP source power. The highest etch rates for InN were obtained with Cl2/Xe, while the highest rates for AlN and GaN were obtained with Cl2/He. Efficient breaking of the III-nitrogen bond is crucial for attaining high etch rates. The InN etching was dominated by physical sputtering, in contrast to GaN and AlN. In the latter cases, the etch rates were limited by initial breaking of the III-nitrogen bond. Maximum selectivities of ∼ 80 for InN to GaN and InN to AlN were obtained.